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13 AND 15 PAilK EOW, N. Y. / 


rC . E, . D A W L E Y , 




T. R. Dawley, Steam Book, Job and Newspaper Printer, Electro- 

tjper, Stereotyper and Publisher, — Nos.. 13 and 15 Park 

Row, New York. 


- ' •. . ;. \ 

• \*N\ \ , 

The Life of George B. McClellan. 



Birth avd Parentage — Education — Personal Characteristics — The Cadet 
— The W^ar in Mexico — State Eights — Monarch]/ — The Siege of Vera 
Cruz — The Winning Gun — Gallantrij and Intrepidity — Cont'-eras — 
Cherubusco — Chepuitepec — Mexico — Victory — Tlianks of the Command- 
er-in-Chief — Beturn to the United States. 

The subject of the present volurafe, George Brinton 
McClellan, was born in Philadelphia, on the 3d day of 
December, 1826, and is consequently but thirty-eight years 
of age. 

His father. Dr. G-eorge McClellan, was a well-known sur- 
geon and physician of the Quaker City — a man of culti- 
vated mannei's and kind heart, who never failed to win 
the esteem and admiration of all who came in contact with 

Philadelphia being the seat of the first Medical College 
in the United States, and giving to the country every yeai* 
a fresh batch of well-educated and ardent young followers 
of Galen, it is easy to infer that to be a successful physi- 
cian in the Quaker City requires more than ordinaiy talent 
and address. 

Dr. McClellan was a man of this stamp, and his skill and 
perseverance did not fail to win him an emiuent repcta- 

As his name indicates, he came of Scotch blood, and 
the family claims to be of kin to that brave Highland 
shepherd whose genius turned his flock into an army a»4 


his crook into a flaming sword that waved them on to 
victory with Colin Campbell. 

Of G-eorge B. McClellan's mother little is known. A 
lady of quiet, modest habits, the world saw and heard but 
little of her. But her warm and generous nature is seen 
in that of her son. Ardent and sincere natures speak 
plainly of the kind maternal source from which these 
qualities of mind invariably flow. 

George, as a child, was neither remarkable for his bodily 
strength or the precocity of his intellect. He took his 
turn at being knocked down, and at knocking his fellows 
down, as other children did ; while the inevitable satchell 
and burden of books gi'aced his back, and portentious 
bunches of marbles and China-alleys bloated his pockets 
in due time. Then came school days; and, who knows, 
perhaps, a day or two of sweet, long-drawn happiness 
at — hookey ! The Zane street school was the first that 
closed its academic doors on the sobbing, reluctant G-eorge, 
who wasn't much of a boy in size, by the way, and didn't 
mind crying when he felt miserable. 

But Zane street is not a dreary place withal, the disci- 
pline being very liberal, and the course not over irksome. 
A year or two at this excellent institution is generally 
sufficient to fit a bright intelligent lad for college, and we 
may be sure that George did not take longer at it than 
his mates did. 

A friend of his father's, who remembers him as his friei d, 
says that he was quite a gentlemanly little boy, tolerably 
playful, and boisterous, but respectful to his elders, r nd 
affectionate to his friends. 


He used to be fond of drawing, and His books were 
splattered all over with specimens, exceedingly crude to 
be sure ; of that graceful accomplishment. Portraits of the 
school teachers, embellished the title pages, and fly 
leaves ; flocks of birds of unknown species adorned the 
chapter headings ; while groups of dislocated cows and 
impossible horses wandered all over the earth, as it lay 
portrayed on the pages of his geography, and' with their 
legs in the middle of the South Sea, and their tails hang- 
ing over the Antarctic Zone they cropped the herbage of 
Nova Zembla or quenched their thirst in the refreshing 
waters of the Dead Sea. 

George received a severe whacking at one time for these 
innocent recreations, and was exhorted never to practice 
them again without first providing himself with spare 
drawing paper. The birds accordingly disappeared from 
view, and the teachers' portraits were rubbed out with 
repentant bread crumbs ; the cows died off, and the horses 
became a totally extinct species. More of their tails are 
still to be found in the vicinity of the region subsequently 
discovered by Sir James Hop, near the South Pole. 

At the age of thirteen, George was sent to the University 
of PeHinsylvania, a Freshman of the freshest kind. This 
Seminary of learning is not one of the big- wig kind. In 
a word, it is not a Unversity in the European sense of the 
term, but as a State institution ranking second only to that 
of New York, it affords the youth of the Keystone State 
advantages of a sound course of instruction in the higher 
branches of education, and well answers the purpose of its 
noble and enlightened founders. 


After three years of study at the University, during 
which time he displayed talents of a very high order for 
one so young, George earned his diploma, and returned 
home in triumph. The fatted calf was killed, although 
George protested that he was not fond of veal; and his 
parents arms received him with that fondness and pride 
that always falls to the lot of blustering graduates. The 
lad was full of health, eager, and tractable; and displayed 
a knowledj,e of mathematics and kindred sciences far be- 
yond his years. It was very plain he was ripening into 
a soldier. His temperament indicated the possession of 
these two cardinal qualities for a soldier — obedience and 
fire. His constitution was healthy, his movements active, 
and his bearing brave and manly. Add to this a keen 
eye, and a generous hand, and the soldier was written as 
plainly upon him as nature could make it. 

Dr. McClellan, a very observant man, was not slow to 
perceive the growing bent of his son — his fondness for out- 
door sports, his progress in geometry, his firm tread and 
defiant port, all marking him out for a military life — and 
at once sought to gratify it. 

Being a very influential man, he obtained without diffi- 
culty, an appointment for George to the United States 
Military Academy, where, after four years of study and 
exercise, he was gi'aduated second in his class, in 18-16. 
i At this time, the United States were engaged in war 
with the republic of Mexico. 

In 1835, Mexico, after many j^ears of internal revolu- 
tion and civil discord, decreed the confederation of States, 
of which she was then composed, to hb a coasolidated re- 


public in which the rights of the separate States were by 
this simple act at once swept away. This was the deed 
of Santa Anna, who, at the time, was nominally her cou- 
stitutional President, but, in fact, her dictator. 

Bereft of the means of organized resistance, the Mexi. 
can States, all but Texas, Avhere several thousand Ameri. 
can colonists had settled, bowed to the yoke, and the 
glorious Mexic&,n Constitution of 1824 existed no longer. 
Kot so with Texas, whose people clung to the Constitu- 
tion, and rejected the centralized despotism which civil 
war had invited, and her cunning and ambitious chiefs 
were not slow to seize upon as a means of perpetuating 
their force. 

This i^eriod of Mexican history is repeating itself now in 
ours, where, with a false cry and a falser purpose, the 
leaders of an aristocratic party, which affects to centre in 
itself all the purity, learning and worth of the country, 
have fastened themselves upon the Constitution, in order 
to tear it to pieces, and erect upon its ruins a North Amer- 
ican despotism. Their disregard for the reserved rights 
of the States, and their plain attempt to obliterate State 
lines, by means of a consolidated republic or monarchy, 
is also noticeably in keeping with Santa Anna's consolida- 
tion of Mexico. 

The brave people of Texas disdaining to lose their indi- 
viduality, and sink into a position of suffering dependance 
towai'ds the Mexican Capitol, heroically rebelled, and pi-o- 
nouncing the government of Mexico a usurpation and a 
despotism, and its chief a dictator and a tyrant, flew to 
arms to defend their right of revolution. Placing them 


selves under the leadership of Gen. Sam. Houston, tho 
battle of San Jacinto was fought and Santa Anna's army- 
was defeated, and himself taken prisoner and sent to 
Washington, where, in the following year, the republic of 
Texas, with its first Pre-^ident, David J. Burnett was for- 
mally recognized. 

San Jacinto was not the only battle fought, though, for 
who can forget Goliad, Conception, San Antonia de Bexar, 
and the cold blooded tragedy of the Alamo ? 

But San Jacinto practically terminated the war, and 
was therefore the most noticeable action that occurred. 
Mexico, however, continued to maintain a hostile attitude 
towards her new neighbor, which was only restrained from 
breaking into open war, by the dissentions, which, at the 
same same time, unremittingly weakened her at home. 
She captured Texan vessels, and incited the Indians on 
the Texan borders to murder the people ; while nothing 
was left undone in the way of diplomacy to effect the ruin 
of the infant republic, by throwing her into the arms of, 
successively, France and England. 

This constant exposure to attacks made the Texans anx- 
ious to place their country among a sisterhood of other 
States, for mutual i^rotection and support; and proposals 
were accordingly made to the TJ. S. Government at Wash- 
ington for annexation. For fear of provoking Mexico into 
a war, this proposal at first met with but partial favor; 
but an election for President occurring in the States at the 
time, this question of annexation was made a party ques- 
tion, and James K. Polk was elected with the understand- 
ing that ho was favorable to the measure. In December, 


1845, Texas was formally admitted to the Union, and war 
at once broke out with Mexico. This furnished the young 
McClellan with the opportunity he so ardently desired. 
"War is the time for military promotion and military honor, 
and George was immediately brevetted second lieutenant 
and ordered to Mexico. Taking leave of home with heart- 
broken words, but filled with enthusiasm for the cause, 
the young adventurer turned his face for the first time to- 
wards glory and danger — eager to win the one, and quick 
to scorn the other. Once away from the scenes of home 
and boyhood, in a ship crowded with hundreds of the 
rough but brave troops, he was afterwards destined to 
command, the shyness and reserve which had previously 
distinguished his manners at once disappeared, and he be- 
came a pleasant, humorous companion, the very soul of 
his brother officers, and the idol of the men. 

How many of us at this critical period of life, when the 
temptation to saci'ifice duty to the pleasures which are 
sure to be derived from popularity and jovial companion- 
ship, forget all the fine resolutions with which we set forth- 

And particularly does this remark afi'ect the young officer. 
With a score of jovial blades for companions, and several 
hundred men about you, who, from the necessities of the 
service, are obliged to show you invariable respect, no 
matter whether it is deserved or not, and can in no way 
exercise a check upon your inclinations, the temptations to 
fall are very difficult to resist. 

For this reason I have alwaj'-s regarded a military offi- 
cer, of serious and affable manners — with double respect, 
for he exhibits not only great firmness of mind in being 


refrained from falling into the mere sensualist and dandy- 
qualities that distinguish half the military men of the da}''— 
but an equal firmness in having resisted the temptation 
to become proud and affected. 

Arrived at Corpus Christi, McClellan was assigned to 
the command of a company of sappers, miners, and pon- 
toniers, with whom he performed distinguished services. 
His command was in G-en. Worth's division ; that heroic 
Gen. Worth, Avhose monument stands in Madison Square- 
Worth commanded that division of the army, which, in 
the battle of Monterey, had been ordered to carry the 
heights on the Saltillo road, while Gen. Taylor, with the 
other division, advanced along the Seraloo road. As it 
was impossible to communicate with the Commander-in- 
chief, Worth was obliged to act independently throughout 
the battle. He cai'ried the forts commanding his line of 
approach, stormed the bishop's palace, and had fought his 
way through the streets nearly to the Grand Plaza, when 
the town capitulated to Taylor, approaching from the 
other side. This was September 23d, 1846. McClellan 
was then not quite twenty years old, yet he not only con- 
ducted himself with distinguished bravery, for which he 
was commended in the official reports, but evinced that 
coolness under fire, and that deliberate judgment ready 
made for trying emergencies, which has characterized 
him ever since. 

At the siege of Yera Cruz, McClellan again made him- 
self conspicuous for his military ability and gallant conduct, 
and was mentioned with high enconiums in the official 


Had the United States then been convulsed with the 
throes of civil war and revolution as France was, when 
Lieutenant Bonaparte planted a three gun battery upon 
the shores of the harbor of Toulon, how different might 
have been the fate, not only of the country, to-day, but of 
the brilliant subject of this sketch ! 

But our young officers groAV up with different ideas from 
what they do in Europe. There they are younger sons 
who adopt the profession simply because it is honorable. 
They grow up in it, confident of their ability to remain in 
it, and careless of the acquirements which their academies 
offer to them. They life in it, and they die in it. They 
are good fellows, merry fellows, mostly dandies or tipplers. 
There is nothing beyond the routine of garrison life within 
their reach. If they go out of the service, their pride and 
connections forbid them to adopt any other profession, 
without, indeed, as has been the case in very rare in- 
stances, they enter the church or practice law. Once a 
soldier, always a soldier. There is no change that is pos- 
sible to them, A commission in the army condemns a 
man either to the life of a recluse, or that of a carouser. 

But it is far different at home. Our officers here are 
not the refuse of younger sons and good-for-nothings ; but 
on the contrary, are selected from among the most pro- 
mising youths in the land. They are educated in the most 
thorough manner, and with a view of their pursuing other 
professions besides that of ai*ms. Knowing full well that 
war-times are happily but temporary ones, and that a 
career of usefulness is always open to them upon a return 


to peace, the American officer is generally a thoughtful, 
intelligent gentleman. 

When men of superior atttainments, like Napoleon 
Bonaparte or Arthur Wellesley, arises amid the ci'owd of 
tight- waisted excLuisites, who wear the epaulettes in Euro- ' 
pean armies, they soon become a military chieftain and 
conquerors. But such men are not exceptions in the United 
States. They are the rule. And instead of rising into 
military eminence, their mutual superiority counterba- 
lances, and their genius usually finds vent in other em- 
ployments where such excellence is not so commonly 
found. It is thus that most of our best officers are in civil 
emploj'^ments during times of peace. Even McClellan, 
when the present war broke out, was the President of both 
the Illinois Central and the Ohio and Mississippi Eailroads, 
and in both these capacities became as distinguished for 
business scope, financial talent, and practical enterprise, as 
he had been for gallantry in the Mexican war, or for di- 
plomacy in St. Domingo. 

But this is anticipating. The point we wish to make is 
this: that while European officers have no other career 
but that of arms, and are therefore satisfied with attaining 
enough proficiency to keep up a decent appearance at the 
head of a company, our officers have the whole world be- 
fore them, and qualify themselves for success in the most 
distinguished walks of life. They, therefore, are careless 
of any very great military distinction, and while they are 
nearly all of them Napoleons in talent, there is no fear of 
any of them becoming Napoleons in tyranny, 

But Ave must return to our young hero, who, having 


aided in reducinjr Vera Cruz, was now on bis way to still 
more blood}- fields. At Cerro Gordo, and tbe occupation 
of tbe city of Mexico, McClellan was again noticed for 
gallant conduct, and, togetber witb General Beauregard, 
tben Lieutenant Beauregard, and General Foster, tben 
also a lieutenant, was commended in tbe official reports. 

Cerro Gordo, it will be remembered, was a pass on tbe 
road between Vera Cruz and Mexico, whicb tbe Mexicans 
bad fortified witb great care, and defended witb 12,000 
men under Gen. Santa Anna in pei'son Tbe American 
force was 8,500 men under Scott. Witb tbis force tbe old 
bero, witb terrific energy, crossed a ravine bitberto deem- 
ed impassable, and by a series of manoeuvres, remarkable 
for tbeir skill and boldness, took tbe enemy in reverse, sur- 
prised bim in tbe time of action, made a general assault on 
all tbe posts at once, cut off tbe retreat of infantry, artil- 
lery, and even a part of tbe cavalry, and gallantly carry- 
ing tbe almost insuperable beigbts, defeated tbe Mexicans, 
killed 1,000 to 1,200 of tbem, and captured 3,000 prisoners, 
5,000 stand of arms, 43 pieces of artillery, 7 standards', 5 
generals, and Santa Anna's private baggage and money 
cbest. Tbe movement was likened to tbe passage of Bo- 
naparte over tbe Alps, and its importance is evidenced by 
tbe almost immediate surrender of tbe Mexican capital to 
our victorious arms. Tbis was on tbe 18 tb of April, 1847. 
In tbis action McClellan again demonstrated bis extraor- 
dinary ability. During tbe nigbt preceding tbe battle, 
witb 500 men to eacb gun, be managed, witb incredible 
labor, to drag up to tbe summit of a bill, broken by deep 
cbasms and commanding a portion of tbe enemy's posi- , 


tion, one heavy 24-poundcr and two 24 pound liowitzers 
Like Bonaparte's battery at Toulon, these guns wOii the 
day, the astonished Mexicans being uttei-ly unable to ac- 
count for their having got there, except by means of a bal- 
loon ! The American loss in this memorable action, was 
but 33 officers and 398 men — of whom only 63 were killed. 
At Contreras and Cherubusco, both of which battles were 
fought on the same da}^ he won the brevet of 1st lieuten- 
ant; and at Molino del Rey, that of captain, which he, 
from a sense of modesty, declined. He accepted a brevet, 
however, for "gallant and meritorious conduct" at Che- 
pultapee, the last of the brilliant scries of victories which, 
under Gen. Scott, preceded the occupation of the Mexican 
capital. This action was fought Sept. 13, 1847> and con- 
sisted of a series of movements which, while they deceived 
Santa Anna, who Avas in Mexico, two miles oif, with his 
army, into the belief that the city itself was being attack- 
ed, resulted in the storming and capture of a heights and 
castle 90 feet high, and defended by the able and heroic 
Gen. Bravo, with a large force of picked men. 

The victors now pressing forward with unabatod ardor 
concluded the campaign, and the war with the occupation 
of Mexico. 

From this time, 1847, until the breaking out of hostili- 
ties in Virginia, 1861. McClellan laid aside the profession 
of arms. 

Wo shall sec him in his new career, exercising the same 
moderation and displajMng the same gallantry and decis- 
ion which so eminently distinguished him in Mexico. We 


Bball see through all, the modest gentleman, the pure pa- 
triot, and the man of high talent. 

His sojourn in Mexico had inured him to fatigue and 
familiarized him with danger. His appearance denoted a 
hardy constitution and great personal strength and agili- 
it3\ His features were hronzed, and an air of determina- 
tion manifested itself in all his actions. A slight com- 
pression of the under lip and an almost imperceptible 
knitting of the brow, which subscqaent trials and hard- 
ships have since deepened, now first began to show them- 

They afforded a harmonious contrast to his other per- 
sonal characteristics, which were generally of an affection- 
ate and cheerful nature. The veterans who have fouffht 
■with him during the present war, all testify to these quali- 
ties in their beloved General, without ever being a marti- 
net, and 3'et without forgetting the responsibilit}'' of his 
position, as the Commander-in-Ciiicf of, an army of some- 
times one hundred thousand men ; he invariably attached 
every man to him who came within his personal supervis- 
ion, and this without any effort on his part. It was 
simply that courage and delicacy, that warmth ofnatui'e 
and that decision combined which he had first developed 
in Mexico, and afterwards ripened during the fourteen 
years of intercourse he enjoyed with men of taste, culture, 
and distinction, which followed the close of the war in 




McClellarCs Activity and Industry. Scott's Friendship for Him. 
McGlellan an Author. His Journey to San Francisco. Explora- 
tion of the Cascade Range. Hardships. Sufferings in the Moun- 
tains. Tribute to the Catholic Missionaries. Opinion of Gover- 
nor Stevens and Secretary Davis. Anecdotes. The Priest's Bless- 
ing. Jefferson's Medal. Peace and Friendship. An Offer of 
Marriage. Four Hundred Horses and an Indian Wife, McClel- 
lan's Abhorrence of Personal Vanity. Gold-Seeking. The Big 
Thought. The Unexpected Election. Return to Washington in 

The sobriquet of The Pathfinder has been applied to 
several of those hai'dy pioneers who have, at various peri- 
ods in our history, opened the path of empire to our ad- 
vancing civilization. To none will it apply with more 
aptness than to G-eorge B. McClellan. But before advan- 
cing his claim to the pi'oud title of Pathfinder, we shall 
have to detail that portion of McClellan's career which 
followed his return from active service in Mexico. 

Upon his arrival in the United States, George at once 
proceeded lo his home and received the gratified embraces 
of his family, and the well-earned admiration of his friends, 
for his gallantry and devotion to our glorious flag. 

His nature was of too active a kind to endure leisure. 
Invested with the command of a corps of engineers at 
West Point, he undertook his new dutiej with alacrity, 
and during such moments of time as remained at his own 
disposal, he prepared a translation and adaptation of M. 
Gomard's bayonet exercise, from the French, under th^ 


title of •' Manual of Bayonet Exercise, prepared for the 
use ot the Army of the United States, by George B. Mc- 
Clellan, Brevet Captain U. S. A." This work was prepar- 
ed during the years 1849 and 1850, and was published in 
1852, by Lippincott, Grambo & Co., Philadelphia. It was 
warmly recommended to the Secretary of War by Gen. 
Winficld Scott, and at once adopted as a text-book for the 

To appreciate the truly modest manner in which Mc* 
Clellan ventured to lay this little work before the public, 
we can do no better than to introduce a portion of the re- 
marks with which it was prefaced : 

" The Bayonet Exercise presented in the following pages, 
is chiefly from the French of M. Gomard, an eminent 
French teacher of the art of fencing. 

" After an examination of the systems of Selmnitz, Pi- 
nette, Muller, &o., the superiority of Gomard's was very 
evident. It is in its arrangement very analagous to the 
infantry tactics, and of such a nature that it can readily 
be taught by the nor<-commissioncd officers. 

" In addition, it is far the simplest system of all. In 
the others are to be found many different " guards," very 
inefficient thrusts, and an almost infinite number of par- 
ries, against the lance, dragoon, hussar, cuirassier, infan- 
try soldier, &c., ad infinitum. 

" Gomard lays it down as a principle, that the most for- 
midable antagonist an infantry soldier can encounter is an 
infantry soldier; that the bayonet is more formidable than 
either the lance or the s^ibre. This assertion may seem 
surprising, but trial will convince any one of its truth, 


arid of the consequent fact, that an infantry soldier who 
can parry the attack of a well drilled infantrj'' soldier, has 
nothing to fear from a cavalry soldier, because simple va* 
riations of the parries against infantry are perfectly effect- 
ive against the sabre and lance, e. g., the parries in high 
tierce and quarte. 

*' There is an instance on record of a French grenadier 
who, in the battle of Polotsk, defeaded- himself, with his 
baj' onet, against the simultaneous -attack of eleven Eus- 
sian grenadiers, eight of whom he killed. In the battle of 
Jangiiessa. two soldier's of Abbe's division defended them- 
selves, with their bayonets, against twenty-five Spanish 
cavalry, and, after having inflicted several severe wounds, 
rejoined their regiment without a scratch. At that period 
there was little or no regular instruction in the use of the 

A ver^^ noticeable feature in McClellan's life, is the warm 
friendship he enjoyed from Scott. It was Scott who first 
detected McClellan's extraordinary genius in Mexico. It 
was Scott who repeatedly marked him for distinguished 
conduct. It was Scott who recommended his maiden ef- 
fort of authorship. It was Scott who remarked his ability 
as an explorer. Finallj', it was Scott who recommended 
him to the chief command of the armies of the United 
States, after the first battle of Bull Eun, and who resigned 
his own command in his favor. 

To Gen. Scott, no less than to his own great merit, is ho 
therefore, deeply indebted for his signal success in life. 
Genius unrecognised often falls into decay, and many and 


many a hero has passed unrecognized into an oblivious 
tomb, unwept, unhonored, and unsung. 

Full many a gem of purest ray serene, 
The dark uufathomed caves of ocean bear ; 

Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, 
And waste its sweetness on the desert air. 

To none, therefore, does McClellan bear that unmixed 
affection and respect, that he does towards the old hero of 
Liindy's Lane and Mexico. 

This gratefulness is but one of the many estimable qua- 
lities of George B. McClellan's charactei*. He never for- 
gets his f)-icnds. 

Shortly after the publication of his Manual of Bayonet 
Exercise, McClellan was appointed by the Secretary of 
War to the joint command of an expedition, which had for 
its main object the discovery and survey of a railroad 
route from the Pacific Ocean to the Mississippi River, 
across the Cascade Range of Mountains. 

This important mission was executed with such success, 
that on the 27th of February, 1855, after its results had 
been officially laid before Congress, Jefferson Davis, then 
Secretary of War, published the following enconium on 
I^cClellan's expedition : — 

" The examination of the approaches and passes of the 
Cascade mountains, made by Captain McClellan, of the 
corps of Engineers, presents a reconnoisauce of great va- 
lue, and though performed under adve?'se circumstances, 
exhibited all the information necessary to determine the 
practicability of this portion of the route,, and reflects the 
highest credit cntJie capacity and resources of that qffiaer" 


This expedition was under the joint command of Isaac 
J. Stevens, Governor of the Territory of Washington, Ste- 
vens being the senior officer. 

Starting from Washington, May 9th, 1853, Gov. Ste- 
vens proceeded at once to St. Paul's, while McClellan took 
passage for San Francisco, the plan being that Stevens 
should proceed with his party in an westerly direction, 
and McClellan with his in an easterly direction, until a 
junction was effected. Stevens had with him a large and 
well appointed party, with Professor Spencer F. Baird as 
naturalist, Dr. John Evans as geologist, and Mr. Stanley 
as artist. They had abundance of instruments and sup- 
plies. McClellan, on the contrary, was obliged to organize 
his expedition on the Pacific, the whole region of which 
was, at that time, wild with excitement concerning the re- 
cent discovery of gold in California. His instructions 
were to proceed to San Francisco, collect such information 
as he could there, and either there or at his next appointed 
rendezvous, at Astoria, to organize a corps of savans, 
guides, hunters, trappers, and mule packers. 

Imagine the difficulty of such an undertaking in a new 
country like California ! But McClellan was not a man to 
halt at trifles. With indefatigable energy be collected 
all the information he could in San Francesco, and then 
proceeded at once to Yancouver's Island where he suc- 
ceeded, after many mishaps, in organizing his command. 
The army officers at our frontier forts, all of whom are 
men of education and culture, afforded him the materials 
for a scientific expedition. Lieut. J. L. Duncan, of the 
Third Artillery, became the astronomer, topographer and 


draughtsman of the party ; Lieut. H. C. Hodges, Fourth 
Artillery, the quartermaster and commissary ; Lieut. J. 
Mowry, Third Artillery, the meterologist ; Mr. George 
Gibbs was appointed geologist and ethnologist ; Mr. J. F. 
Minter, assistant engineer, in charge of courses, distances, 
&c. ; Dr. J. G. Cooper, surgeon and naturalist ; and Mr. 
A. L. Lewes, assistant engineer and interpreter. 

In addition to these, there were five assistants in obser- 
vations, &c., two sergeants, two corporals, and twenty-four 
privates of the Fourth Infantry, two chief packers, three 
hunters and herders, and twenty packers, besides McClel- 
lan himself This made sixty persons in all. 

There were one hundred and seventy-three horses or 
mules — seventy- 1 hree for riding, and 'one hundred for pack- 
ing — besides cattle and sheep, 

McClellan arrived at Vancouver, June 27, 1853. yet by the 
24th of the following month, all was ready. As an instance 
of how difficult a matter it was to simply organize the expe- 
dition, we may mention that of the only two chronometers 
it was possible to procure, one was uttex'ly worthless, and the 
other none of the best. The barometer was good for no- 
thing, the saddles so worthless that they fell to pieces af- 
ter a few days service, and some of the men so eager to be 
off to the diggings, that it was with difficulty they could 
be kept from deserting. Once away from the immediate 
vicinity of the settlements, and under the inspiriting guid- 
ance of McClellan all went well, and such was the success 
with which the expedition was conducted, notwithstanding 
all the drawbacks we have related, and the many othei 
ones which proceeded from limited supplies, rugged tra- 

to taiS tAFt OF 

veiling, intense cold and heavy rains and snow, that Gov. 
Stevens issued the following order concerning it on the 
29th of Oct., 1853:— 

" To Captain McClellan, his officers and men, too much 
praise cannot be ascribed for their indefatigable exertions, 
and the great ability of all kinds brought to their division 
of the work. They can point with just pride to the de- 
termination of two practicable passes in that most for- 
midable barrier from the Mississippi to the Pacific, of the 
Cascade range, and to a most admirable development of 
the unknown geography of the region eastwai'd of the 
Columbia, as showing the unsurpassed skill and devotion 
vjhich has characterized the chief of the division, (Captain 
McClellan,) and all of his assistants." 

The expedition started from Vancouver, July 24, 1853, 
with instructions to exj)lore the Cascade mountains from 
the Columbia river to the 49th parallel, to examine the 
line from Wallah-Wallah to Steilcoom, and thence east to 
the Eocky mountains, in order to fall in with the other di ■ 

vision under command of Gov. Stevens. The strictest 
economy was enjoined upon our young adventurer, and a 
handsome sum of money placed at his disposal for the ex- 
penses of the journey. Orders were also left by Gov. 
Stevens with his own party, that in case of his absence, 
and of falling in with McClellan's party from the west- 
wai'd, the latter was to assume command of the whole. 

Of its signal success we have been already advised. 
The economy and business tact displaj'cd by McClellan in 
managing his command, arc also noticeable features of 

the expedition. 


Of his adventures in the mountains, the terrible suffer- 
ings he endured, and the admirable manner in ■which he 
supported the spirits of all, by his cheerfulness and endur- 
ance, we would like to speak at length, but the limits of 
this work forbid. 

A few anecdotes relating to this part of his life, how- 
ever, may not be out of place. 

At a distant post near the Cascade range, thei-e exists a 
Catholic mission, called that of Atahnan, which was then 
under the care of the Eev. Fathers Pandozy and D'Har- 
bomc}^. Shut out from the world by the remoteness of 
their solitude, the devotion Avhich these worthy priests ex- 
hibited for their charitable work, made u strong impression 
upon Mcdlellan's mind, and he took particular pains to 
pay them a beautiful tribute to their philanthropy. He 
said : " The simple fare you jHit up with, the want of all 
comfort 3^ou endure, the unbroken solitude into which you 
have buried yourselves, surrounded only by the most wild 
and tremendous works of nature, excites my admiration for 
the motive that has impelled you here — a motive which 
has for its only object the diffusion of moi'ality and intel- 
ligence to the wandering savages who occasionally fre- 
quent the spot." 

The worthy fathers, touched by his ardor and ingenu- 
ousness, blessed him, and wished him a happy voyage. 
Their wishes were fulfilled. McClellan traversed over a 
tliousand miles through these deserts without a personal 
mishap to himself, altlioiigli always at the head of his 
party, and exposed to the most danger. On one occasion 
his command was redueed to 35 persons, 42 horses and 52 


packing animals. On another, two of the mules near him 
went over an unseen precipice, but McClellan's animal 
passed the danger unharmed, and his rider escaped. The 
good priests' blessings were effectual. 

An Indian chief, with the extraordinary name of Wat- 
tai-Wattai-pow-lis,exhibitBd to McClellan a medal which had 
been presented to him in 1801 by Capts. Lewis and Clark, 
the first white explorers of a route between the Missis- 
sippi and the Pacific. The medal was embellished with a 
bust of " Thomas Jefferson, President of the U. S. A., 
1801," and the chief exhibited it as a token of his rank, 
and indicative of the powers with which he might oppose 
the entrance of the whites into that region, if he choosed. 
" Ah, chief," replied McClellan, " you have only looked 
upon one side of the medal. The other has upon it the 
emblems of two clasped hands, a pipe of peace, and a bat- 
tle axe broken in twain, with the motto ' Peace and 
Friendship to all men.' Wattai-Wattai-pow-lis was never 
heard to say anything about attacking the expedition after 

A chief named Kam-ai-ya-kam, was made acquainted 
with the object of the expedition, and told that in the 
event of that route being decided upon for a railroad, the 
whites might wish to purchase the land from him. The 
chief replied that he had no objection to dispose of the 
land for a good consideration, but that he had lost a great 


deal already by accepting inconsiderable presents from 
vai'ious ])arties, who afterwards came and claimed his 
lands, saying that the presents he had accepted had bound 
him to part with them. McClellan explained to him that 
no bargain on his part was binding without his signature, 
nor on the part of any white trader, for lands, without the 
authority of. the government, a copy of whose seal he fur- 
nished him with. Kam-ai-ya-kam was so delighted at 
this that he offered McClellan four hundred horses if he 
would marry his daughter and become his son-in-law. It 
isi needless to say that the captain respectfully declined. 

It is the common practice of explorers to bestow their 
own names upon such remarkable works of nature as they 
may be the first to discover. In this manner Amerigo 
Vespucci has wr-ongfully given his name to this continent. 
In the same way we find between the Mississippi and the 
Pacific such names as . Fremont's Peak, Fremont's Island, 
Fremont's Pass, Gunnison's Island, Pike's Peak, Denver 
City, &c. 

McClellan has furnished the only exception to this spe- 
cies of personal vanity. He carefully preserved all the 
aboriginal names of localities, and only ventured in one in- 
stance to infringe upon this rule. This was in the case of a 
mountain which he called Mount Stuart, the Indian name 
of which could not bo ascertained. 


During one part of the journey, some of the party dis- 
covered gold in the waters of the Yakima. The men all 
rushed after the treasure, and the objects of the expedi- 
tion were for the time forgotten. McClellan, chafing with 
scorn and mortification at this evidence of avarice, had the 
patience to resign himself to circumstances, and to calcu- 
late the time lost by the men, and compare with it the 
meagre results of their diggings. These results he exhib- 
ited to them on paper. They at once saw that it paid 
them a o-reat deal better to devote their services to the le- 
gitimate objects of the expedition ; and accordingly 4he 
march was at once resumed. 

A chief named Skloo tried a trick on McClellan, which 
the latter detected, and foiled. Another chief, one Ow- 
hai, heai'ing of it, struck his forehead and said ; " Ah, 
that Skloo — big head — big thought. Captain McClellan — 
bigger head — bigp;er thought — like myself !" 

The Indians in that region are very fond of horse-rac- 
ing. In order td divert themselves, the officers of the ex- 
pedition offered the Indians a much coveted piece of scar- 
let cloth. This caused a large entry to be made for the 
race. In short, the whole tribe was present, and what is 
more, they were all stripped stark naked for the ride. In 
order to distinguish one from the other, the officers had 
them painted in stripes like a barber's pole, when off tbey 
went. The course was not measured or the time marked 


but the winner received his prize, and went on his way 
'rejoicing. Such was the envy which followed him, that 
McClellan, to please the chief, offered another prize of 
equal value to he who should be elected chief, at a general 
election to be then and there held by the JSTomads. This 
was at the chief's own suggestion, for, like Mr. Lincoln, 
he was confident of re-election. As if to complete his 
chagrin and mortification, an entirely new man was 
elected, and the chief retired into private life, not alto- 
gether unconsoled, however, for Captain McClellan gave 
him a handsome present at parting. 

In the spring of 1854, McClellan returned to "Washing- 
ton, after one .of the most successful expeditions ever or- 
dered by the United States Government, and received the 
congratulations of all parties. 



Construction of Fort Delaware — Exploration of Red Riiiei — Exploration 
of Texas — McClellan as a Sailor — His intense activity — The van of 
civilization — McClellan's Railroad System Adopted by Government-^ 
His Secret Mission to the West Indies — His Mission to Europe — The 
Celebrities he Met-^ McClellan the Perfect Gentleman — The Historic 
Scenes he Visited — The Value of his Labors in Introducing Rifled 
Arms and other Improvements into our Service. 

We should have mentioned that previous to McClellan's 
journey to San Francisco, and his survey of the Northern 
Pacific Bailroad route, he was ordered to Fort Delaware^ 


in 1851, to superintend its construction under Major John 
Sanders. The next j^ear he accompanied Oapt Eandolph 
B. Marcey, (whose daughter he subsequently married,) on 
ar. expedition to explore the Eed Eiver. This duty, per- 
formed with great ability and to the complete satisfaction 
of the government, he next accompanied G-en. P. P. Smith 
in September, 1852, to Texas, to survey the rivers and 
harbors of that State. 

As a sailor, no less than as a soldier, McClellan again 
distinguished himself, and the practical experience of salt 
■water life he gained in this exploration stood him a good 
turn, when he subsequently became engaged in the survey 
of the waters of Puget Sound, during the stay at Yan- 
couver's Island, related in the last chapter. 

His life, it will be seen, was one of constant activity. 
Nothing could satisfy his restless desire to be doing some- 
thing, but a constant devotion to active service. 

Our lives are all too short here below to waste any of 
its precious hours. The man who does the most towards 
adding to the stock of human knowledge, does the most 
good in this world. Knowledge is civilization, and civili- 
zation is virtue and morality. The more we work, the 
p-reater mark we leave behind. Our labor is never lost. 


Some day or other it is picked up and turned to account. 
Those who do nothing, might as well never have existed. 
The march of humanity is slow at best, for error has to be 
encountered at every step, and knowledge diffused. But 
how much slower would it not be if no one came forward 
to lead the way. 
McClellan fully .appreciated this, and determined to lose 


no time. Procrastination is a thief. To-day is always 
the best time. 

Had this brilliant young officer died before his journey 
to the Columbia, at the youthful age of twenty-six, he 
still would have left behind him a name celebrated in 
the history of the country. Had he died upon his re- 
turn from that expedition, at the age of twenty-eight, he 
would have been written down in history as one of the 
great Pathfinders of the American empire, What a shi- 
ning example is he not to the youth of this vast republic ! 

But his life has been happily spared for a further career 
of usefulness and honor, a career brilliant in all its details, 
and glorious in the results it has already achieved. 

To lead his countrymen in a war that added California 
to the Union, to map out the pathless solitudes of the great 
mountain ranges of Western America, to represent his 
country among the courts of Europe, and to become the 
foremost leader in the present war for the Union, has al- 
ready been his proud destiny. 

May it be his to consummate a grand work of national 
regeneration, and lead his now distracted fatherland to an 
honorable and j)ermanent peace ! ^ 

Upon McClellan's return from Oregon, he was immedi- 
ately detailed by the government to investigate the entire 
railroad system of the United States, with a view to ob- 
tain all the necessar}^ data on construction, equipment and 
management, for the successful operation of the contem- 
plated Pacific Eailroad. 

Of the result of his proceedings, he presented a full re- 
port in November, 1854. 


This report is remarkable, as, indeed, are all his wri- 
tings, for its brevity, lucidity and directness. He never 
intrudes himself or his personal opinions in his reports. 
They are all strictly scientific, and for this reason have 
proved of great service to the country. 

His report upon the railroad system of the United States 
has become a test-book on the subject, and the various 
acts of Congress concerning railroads, which have passed 
since its publication, are all more or less based upon its 
contents. It was this admirable report which first brought 
him to the notice of the great Illinois Central Eailroad 
Company, and which induced it to subsequently invite him 
to resign his commission in the army, and undertake the 
superintendence of that wonderful highway. 

He had received his commission as first lieutenant in 
1853, and in March, 1854^ he was promoted to be captain 
in the First Cavalry. 

In the winter of 1854-5 he was employed by the Gov- 
ernment on a secret mission to the West Indies. The re- 
sults of this mission were never made public, but he per- 
formed his part of ambassador as satisfactorily as he had 
that of warrior, author and pathfinder, and received the 
thanks of the Government. So satisfactorily was his mis- 
sion to the West Indies concluded, that he was next ap- 
appointed, with Colonel Delafield and Major Mordecai, two 
of the best educated officers in our service, to studj* the 
organization of European armies, and observe the war in 
the Crimea. 

For this reason, his mission to the Caribbean Islands was 
supposed to have been connected, the capacity they pos- 


sessed, of being used as military and naval bases of ope- 
rations, in the event of our being attacked by European 

McClellan wrote one volume of the report of this Eu- 
ropean coaimission, which was printed by order of Con- 
gress. His portion of it was republished ia Philadelphia, 
after the Commissioners' return to the United States, un- 
der the title of " The Armies ot Europe ; comprising Des- 
cri^jtions in Detail of ihe Military Systems of England, 
France, Kussia, Prussia, Austria and Sardinia." (8vo. 

In this important commission, Capt. McClellan had an 
opportunity to become personally acquainted with some of 
the most celebrated men in Europe. Lord Clarendon, the 
British Minister of AVar, Lord Eaglan, then commanding 
the British forces in the Crimea, Sir Edmund L3'-ons, Ad- 
miral of the Black Sea Fleet, Count Walewsk}^, the French 
Foreign Minister, Baron Manteuffel, the Prussian Foreign 
Minister, Baron de Budberg, the Eussian Ambassador at 
Berlin, Baron Krusenstein, the Eussian Diplomat, Prince 
Paskievitch, the old Eussian hero and Marshal, Count 
Nesselrode, the Prime Minister of Eussia, Count Dalgour- 
ouki, the Eussian Minister of War, the Emperor Nicholas, 
Baron Lieven, Prince Ouroussoff, Count Waldersee, the 
Prussian Diplomat, Count Buol Schawenstein, the Austri- 
an Minister, and Baron Tecas, the Sai'dinian Minister. 

Arriving at Balaklava October 8th, he enjoyed, with his 
brother officers, the personal acquaintance of General 
Simpson, the successor to Loi-d Eaglan in con^mand of the 
British Army, General La Marmora, Commander-in-chief 


of the Sardinian contingent, General de Martimprey, chief 
of the personal staff of Marshal Pelissier, the French 
commander, General Niel, Chief of Engineers, and many- 
other illustrious persons. 

On their way home, leaving Constantinople and Scutari 
on the 13th NSvember, they successively enjoyed the so- 
ciety of the Grand Dukes "William and Leopold of Aus- 
ti-ia, the veteran Marshal Eadetsky, at Verona, Marshal 
Castillon, at Lyons, General Grouchy, at Strasbourg, Mar- 
shal Maguan and Marshal Yaillant, at Paris, and numer- 
ous dignitaries of lesser note. 

This personal contact with men of fame and high social 
position, was a source of great pleasure to Captain McClel- 
lan, because it afforded him a rare opportunity to study 
their manners and their attainments. 

A gentleman himself, McClellan delighted to encounter 
other gentlemen. 

A man of rare ability himself, he loved to meet with 
men of genius. 

A man bent upon a high and an honorable career, he 
derived pleasure in meeting with others whose names had 
become famous in the history of their countries. 

But personal intercourse with the high and noble of 
many lands, was not the only privilege he enjoyed. He 
was recognized everywhere as a man of great talent, and • 
people of all conditions rejoiced to see him, and to do him 

In addition to this, he visited almost every spot . of in- 
terest in Europe. He stood where William conquered and 
Eichard perished; where Hampden struck, and Burke 


thundered forth for liberty; where Magna Carta was 
signed ; where Charles was beheaded ; and Fox, Pitt and 
Sheridan proclaimed Americar! Indejoendence. 

He beheld the mansoleum of Napoleon, the place of the 
Bastile, the spot where Louis perished, and where the 
French Eepublic was born. 

He visited the birth places of Steuben and Kosciusko, 
and saw the city which its own inhabitants had destroyed, 
rather than it should fall into the hands of the invader — 
the heroic city of Moscow. 

He viewed the little Gibraltar of Toulon, the bridge of 
Australitz, and the plains of Waterloo — successive monu- 
ments of Napoleon's meteoric cai'eer. And as the grass 
grew over these spots, where the history of nations was 
decided in blood and in carnage, he read the lessons that 
nature eventually triumphs in her quiet, gentle way 
over all. 

Warsaw, where " quiet " ferociously reigned ; Venice, 
Yienna, Mantua and Milan, the scenes of Shakspeare's 
"divine comedies," the Bosphorus, where Leander dashed 
the briny wave aside, and Marseilles the cradle of French 
republican liberty, were successively visited by the com- 

Their labors comprised a vast collection of facts con- 
cerning systems of fortifications, the use of rifled arms and 
- cannon, medical and hospital arrangements, ambulances, 
clothing, camp equippage, accoutrements, ordnance, am- 
munition, permanent fortifications, sea-coast and land de- 
fences, seige Operations, bridge trains, bo,'/its, wagons, tor- 
pedoes, iron floating batteries, barracks, army bakeries, 


gun carriages, cooking, dessicated food, hygeine, electric 
firing, balloons, field guns, fuses, gun cotton, furniture for 
camps and hospitals, dresses for soldiei-s, litters, maga- 
zines, mortar boats, military raili'oads, stables, steam 
transports, tents, laundries, ventilation of hospitals, care 
of horses, treatment of wounded, and care for the personal 
comfort of troops in action. 

To Captain McClellan is due the credit of constant ob- 
servations on all these important matters. Not a moment 
of time was lost. The commission returned to the United 
S.ates in the summer of 1856, after having collected a vast 
amount of information of the most important description — 
all of which has been turned to the highest account in the 
present conflict. 

A quarto volume, embellished with hundreds of maps, 
diagrams, wood cuts, and colored lithographs, embodied 
the results of these labors, and was published by order of 
Congress, dated March 2d, 1861. This work is of the 
highest value. It was scarcely printed when the fall 
Fort of Sumter occurred. Its contents assumed a 'deep 
importance at once. We owe to the labors of this com- 
mission the introduction of rifled arms, the use of ear- 
then fortifications, the appreciation of railroads for pur- 
poses of war, the adaptation of iron-plated vessels, the 
employment of steam transports, the balloon telegraph, 
the floating ram, the sanitary commission, the improved 
hospital, and the many improvements in the art of war 
which have lately been put into service. 

This ends McClellan's services as a Commissioner and 


As in every other respect, we are compelled to acknowl- 
edge him the possessor of extraordinary talent and ad- 
dress — much greater than are commonly attributed to 
him, for his early history is obscured to us by the still 
gi-eater brilliancy of his subsequent career as Commander- 
in-chief of the Army of the Potomag. 

His grasp of mind and tenacity of purpose appear to 
no greater advantage than in the manner in which he 
succeeded in rendei-ing his early life alike honorable and 
famous. $ , 



McClellan as Superintendent and Vice-President of the Illinois Central 
Railroad. — The Vast Undertaking entrusted to him. — His Financial and 
Business Ability. — President of the Ohio and Mississippi Hailroad. — 
Breaking out of the War in 18tJl — He tenders his Resignation. — It is 
not Accepted. — He writes his last Report and announces his inten- 
tion of Seeking the Field. — His Resignation Reluctantlj Accepted. — 
He accepts a Maj or-Generalshiv and unsheathes his sword for Union 
and Liberty. 

In the month of January, 1857, Captain McClellan re- 
signed his commission and accepted the invitation of the 
Illinois Central Eailroad to become its General Superin- 
tendent. He was soon after elected Vice President of the 
corporation, and acted in this double capacity for over 
three years. 


This Illinois Central Eailroad was called into existence 
by act of Congress, September, 1850, and the act of the 
Legislature of the State of Illinois, February, 1851. 

At that time there were but twenty-two miles of Rail- 
road in the State. 

The company were granted the right to construct a 
road from Cairo to Chicago — three hundred and fifty miles 
— and a branch line from Centralia to Dunleith, on the 
MississijDpi river — two hundred and fifty miles — making 
altogether, with connections, * seveli hundred and eight 
miles of railroad. This grant included the fifth of every 
alternate section of land for six sections in width, (a sec- 
tion is one mile square,) on each side of the road and 

This grant amounted in the aggregate to four thousand 
and fifty-five square miles of land, or two million five hun- 
dred and ninety-five thousand acres — very nearly as large 
an area as that comprised within the entire State of Con- 
necticut, twice as large as Delaware, more than half as 
large as Massachusetts, about the same size as the Electo- 
rate of Hesse-Cassel, three-fourths as large as the Grand 
Duchy of Baden, and half as large as the Grand Duchy of 

To superintend the construction and repair of this great 
thoroughfare, and bring into the market and dispose of 
this vast territory, in farms suited to the occupant, to de- 
velope the agricultural and mineral resources of a new 
State, containing 55,409 square miles, in order that 
tlicj' might bear upon the value of the property own- 
ed by the company; and to promote emigration from Eu- 


rope, and commerce by the lakes, in order to settle and 
improve the lands of the company, was the vast under- 
taking to Avhich Greorge B. McClellan was c?illed. 

ISTor were the company disappointed in their choice. 
McClellan did all this, and more. $23,437,669 were ex- 
pended upon this road. Not a penny was ivasted. 'No 
shinplaster bonds, no fifth mortgages, no " suspended re- 
quisitions," were issued to raise the wind. The financial 
policy of the company was simple and effective. $17,- 
000,000 of construction bonds were issued, and their pay- 
ment secured by the mortgage of 2,000,000 specified acres 
of land.' As fast as these lands were sold and paid for, 
the bonds were liquidated. 

The system was a plain, hard cash system. No irre- 
sponsible paper money. No long promises drawn upon 

Of course, it Avas in every way the interoet of the com- 
pany to sell the lands forthwith. First, because every 
section sold would make the rest more valuable. Next, 
because it Avould bring additional traffic to the road. Fi- 
nally, it would assist to pay off the construction bonds and 
set the company free from debt. 

Agents were accordingly dispatched to Europe, prospec- 
tuses published, handbills and posters circulated, and ad- 
vertisements displayed inviting emigration and settlement 
on the Illinois Central Eailroad lands. 

These efforts were attended with so much success, that 
not only is the railroad almost free from debt to-daj^ but 
the State is teeming with a population of two millions of 


This sjT^stem of sending agents to Europe has been re- 
centlj^ adopted by the United States government to pro- 
mote the sale of Five-Twenty bonds, with great success. 

It is a pity it has not copied some more of the features 
which distinguished the fiscal management of the Illinois 
Central Eailroad, by George Brinton McClellan. 

The country might have been better oif for it to-day. 

The following is the plan of sale of the Illinois Central 
Eailroad lands : — 

Pa^'ment of one year's interest in advance, at six per 
cent, per annum ; and six interest notes at six per cent., 
paj'able respectively in one. two, three, foui', five, and six 
years from date of sale ; and four notes for principal, pay- 
able in four, five, six, and seven years from date of sale ; 
the contract stipulating that one-tenth of the tract pur- 
chased shall be fenced and cultivated, each and every year, 
for five years from the date of sale, so that at the end of 
five years, one-half shall be fenced and under cultivation. 

Twenty per cent, deducted from the valuation for cash, 
except the same should be at six dollars per acre, when 
the cash price was five dollars per acre. 

A purchaser's account would stand as follows, supposing 

he contracted for eighty acres of land at $10 per acre, on 

March 1, 1859. 

March 1, 18.o9, Cash Paj'ment, 1 year's interest ia advance, 

at 6 per cent. $ 48 00 


'• 1860 r. $48 00 48 00 

1861, 48 00 48 00 

« 1862, 48 00 48 00 

" 1863, §200 00 3G 00 236 00 

" 1864 200 00 24 00 224 00 

« ' 1865 200 00 12 00 212 00 

" 1866 200 00 200 00 

Total, ^1064 00 


Thus, with $48 cash, a poor man might purchase eighty 
acres of the richest prairie farming land in Illinois, requi- 
ring no clearing, and no manuring, and with ordinary la- 
bor, might succeed in six j'earstimo in becoming its entire 
owner in fee simi^le. 

"We here perceive those talents of which the country 
stands in most need to-day — the talents of a thorough busi- 
ness man and a financier. 

So conspicuously did they exhibit themselves in the 
person of our hero, that he was called in 1860, to the gene- 
ral siiperintendenc}'- of the Ohio and Mississippi Eailroad, 
which connects the cites of Cincinnati and St. Louis, 
crossing the line of the Illinois Central Railroad at Odin 
and Sandoval. 

Two months later, he was elected President of the east- 
ern division of the same. 

The Ohio and Mississippi Railroad is three hundred and 
forty miles in length, the eastern division extending a dis- 
tance of one hundred and ninety-two miles from Cincin- 
nati to Vincennes, on the boundary line of the State of 

He held this office, and also that of Director of the road, 
lentil the breaking out of the war, when fired with the de- 
iiire to lead his countrymen to the field, in defense of the 
Union, he sent in his resignation, received a commis- 
sion as Major General from the Governor of the State of 
Ohio, and proceeded at once to organize the nine months 
volunteers fi-om that State. 

Such was the esteem in which he was held by the com- 
pany, that hia resignation was not accepted at first ; but 


iij)on being assured that nothing would induce him to for- 
sake the service of his country in the hour of her need, 
they reluctantly accepted it when tendered for the second 

The following is the letter which accompanied McClel- 
lan's last report as President of the company. It was 
written after his first offer of resignation, and before his 
second : — 


To the StocMiolders of the Eastern Division of the Ohio and 

Mississippi Bailroad : 

I herewith submit Eeports of the Superintendent and 
Treasurer, showing the business operations of the compa- 
ny for the year, ending April 30th, 1861. 

It is needless for me to call your attention to the dis- 
turbed state of the political and commercial affairs of the 
country, as affecting the 'business of the Company. Our 
connecting roads have all suffered from the same cause, 
some of them to a greater extent than ourselves, and, 
therefore, the future prospects of the company cannot be 
considered as less promising, relatively, than they were at 
the date of the last Annual Eeport. 

Having been called into the military service of the coun- 
try eax'ly in April last, by the exigencies of the national 
affairs, and most unremittingly occupied since that time 
by the duties of the service, I have not been able to give 
that detailed and careful consideration to the annual state- 
ment which I should otherwise have done ; but must con- 
tent myself with referring you to the reports and state- 
ments which follow, aiid which will give you a full exhibit 
of the transactions and condition of the company. 
Very Eespectfully, , 


Cincinnati, June 3rd, 1861. Prest. 

We have thus traced George B. McClellan's career as 
the Officer, the Pathfinder, the Commissioner, and the Bu- 


Biness Man and Financier. "We have only to rapidly sketch 
it as the Commander-in-Chief and the Statesman. 

Much as we would have loved to dwell upon the early 
days of McClellan, our limited space has forbidden. 

"We see him constantly actuated by one desire — to make 
himself an honorable and a useful name. 

As long as the country called for his services in Mexico, 
he was ready to devote them to her. When they were no 
longer needed in battle, he cheerfullj'' became an instructor 
at West Point. For her again he toiled over the pathless 
wastes of the Cascade mountains, or traced the Eed river 
through its long and sinuous windings to its source. For 
her he braved the fevers of the Texan coast, and the hot 
suns of St. Domingo; and for her he sped all over Europe, 
to garner the scientific information of which she stood 
80 much in need. 

It was only when she had no further employment for 
him that he retired to private life. 

Bat the moment the tocsin was sounded, the moment 
the country was called to arms, he deserted all — home, 
friends and business prospects, to unsheath his sword for 
the second time in her defence. 

This gallantry and devotion shines all through McClel- 

Is it any wonder, then, that being first in war, and first 
in peace, he should be first in the hearts of his country- 
men ? 

The particulars of General McOlellan's career after the 
breaking out of the war, can be given in no better lan- 
guage than his own. He says : 


" The attack upon Fort Sumtor, on the 12th of April, 
1861, took the northei-n people by surprise, and found them 
entirely unprepared to carry on a serious contest. Our 
people were born and educated amidst the blessings of 
peace and material prosperity; they were in the habit of 
yielding obedience to the laws of the countrj^ and the will 
of the majority, as expi-essed in the elections, and had be- 
come accustomed to see great political excitement and an- 
imosity calmly subside, through the deference of the mi- 
nority to the decision of the majority. Thus to the last 
moment it was difficult to realize that a great civil war 
was imminent ; and men clung fondly to the hope that the 
good sense of both sections would, in the eleventh hour, 
find some honorable solution of the difficulty, as had so of- 
ten been the case before. 

" It is probable that neither section fully realized the 
power and violence of the passions evoked, and that each 
flattered itself with the delusive hope that the other would 
yield something, rather than I'isk the inevitable and terri- 
ble consequences of an appeal to arms. Each underrated 
the strength, resources and courage of the other. These 
mutual misunderstandings, ably used by a comparatively 
small number of ambitious and unscrupulous men, were 
at their height, Avhen the insult offered the national flag in 
the harbor of Charleston, aroused both parties to some- 
thing like a true sense of their condition. 

" The South were warned that they Avore irrevocably 
committed to make good their threats, and to establish by 
force their vaunted right of secession. 

When brought clearly to the minds of Northern men 


tliat it "was now loo late to inquire what were the original 
causes of the contest, and that it only remained for them 
to aven/)je the insult to the flag, and to sustain the govern- 
ment in supporting the inviolahility of the Constitution, 
maintaining the unity of tho nation, and enforcing its 

'There can be no question that these were the true issues 
which called forth that wonderful enthusiasm manifested 
b}'^ our people in 1861. When the President, on the 19th 
of April, 1861, issued his call for seventy-five thousand 
volunteers to suppress the rebellion, the difficulty was to 
restrain the ardor of the nation, and to limit the number 
of volunteers to something like that called for. The strug- 
gle then was as to who should be so fortunate as to be re- 
ceived, not as to who should avoid the call. 

The governors of States were beseiged by eager crowds, 
anxious to be permitted to fight for their country ; and 
the}^, in turn, importuned the authorities in Washington 
for permission to increase their quotas — a permission usu- 
ally very difficult to obtain— for the men were still few 
who foresaw the magnitude and duration of the struggle 
in which we had embarked. 

While there was no difficulty in procuring men, it was 
no easy task to arm, equip, and organize them, especially 
in the western States. 

The scanty supplies of war material at the disposal of 
the general government were mainly in the east, with the 
exception of the arms at the St. Louis ai'senal, which were 
not much more than sufficient to meet the demands in 
Missouri. There was no United States arsenal in the 


States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois or Kentucky. The 
West, at that time, possessed no establishment capable of 
manufacturing arms on a large scale, and few for the pre- 
paration of clothing and equipments. In proportion to 
the population, there was less military information in the 
West than in the East. 

It was under these circumstances that on the 23d of 
April, 1861, I was appointed by Gov. Denison, Major Ge- 
neral of the Ohio contingent, under the three months call, 
and at once undertook the task of rendering available for 
the field the mass of unorganized and unarmed men who 
were colleeting upon the call of the President. 

From Ohio, thirteen regiments of infantry were de- 
manded ; in a few weeks, the same number of three years 
regiments was. called for, and by the middle of July the 
number was increased to twenty-two. No cavalry or ar- 
tillery were embraced in the original call. 

On the 23rd of April, there were in the State of Ohio 
1880 small arms, mostly altered flint locks; 31 field guns, 
manj^ of which were unfit for service, and few provided 
with the indispensable equipments; 120 tents; not regi- 
mental, 'yet mustered into the United States Service. 

Such were the preparations of a State which has since 
sent vast armies into the field. Indiana and Illinois were 
not in a more favorable condition. 

All mail communications with Washington were at that 
time interrupted in consequence of the occurrences at Bal- 
timore, and were for a long period difficult and un- 

The attention of the authorities was fully occupied in 


arranging for the immediate defence of the Capital, — and 
the supplies being limited in amount — but little could be 
done for the Western States, which were for some weeks 
compelled to rely on their own resources. 

Neither the people nor the Governors failed in the emer- 
gency, but both manfully met the crisis. 

It was then that the strength and value of the State 
Governments were made fully manifest, for to them was 
the safetjT^ of the West due in that hour of trial. 

I have good reason to know that all the loyal Governors 
of the Western States did their full duty in the emergency, 
but being in more direct personal communication with 
Governor Dcnnison, of Ohio, during the most critical por- 
tion of this period, I desire to bear testimony to the triple 
qualities he then displayed. He manifested a degree of 
energy, ability, untiring devotion, and disinterested 
patriotism which was creditable in the extreme. 
i. As has already been said, the Western States were to- 
tally unprepared for the impending struggle. It may be 
asserted, with almost literal truth, that neither arms, am- 
munition nor equipments existed there. We had nothing 
but the men — all else was to be created. 

Another great difficulty arose, from absence of Govern- 
ment funds ; the Subsistence Department soon supplied 
its agents with money, but none was received from the 
Quartermaster's Department until after the 20th of May, 
and then for some time in insufficient amounts. 

* * * * 5|C ^ * 

The Governors of States now exerted themselves to the 

54 ^ TttE LIFE 6f 

* * * * * 5|i » 

On the 8rd of May, the States of Ohio, Indiana and Il- 
linois were formed into the Depai*tnientof the Ohio, which 
the General-in-Chief placed under my command. 

****** 51S 

During the month of May, the political aspect of affairs 
in Kentucky and "Western Virginia Was uncertain and 
threatening. In the latter, a Convention had been called, 
to assemble at Wheeling, on the 13th of May, to decide 
Upon the question of separation from the eastern portion 
of the State, while the election uj^on the question of rati- 
fying the Bichmond ordinance of secession from the iTni- 
ted States, was fixed for the 23d of the same month. 

Excitement ran high, and honest men differed widely 
as to the policy that should be pursued by the military au- 
thorities of the General Government. 

I received a multitude of letters from a large number of 
sincere Union men, who entertained widely divergent views 
as to the measures adequate to the emergency. Many 
urged, ay early as the beginning of May, that troops should 
immediately be sent into Virginia, to encourage the Union 
men and prevent the secessionists from gaining a foothold. 
At least an equal number insisted with equal force that the 
arrival of troops from other States would merely arouse 
State pride, throw many wavering men into the rebel 
ranks, and at once kindle the flames of civil war. 

In Kentucky the struggle was much more bitter than in 
'^^''estern Virginia. The State government, the arms, and 

3 military organization, were to a great extent in the 

nds of men who favored the secession of the State ; but 


SO able and determined was the course of the Union lea* 
ders, and so marked did the majority of the people soon 
became in their support, that the secessionist leaders were 
compelled to content themselves with the avowal of the 
position of neutrality, while awaiting the results of the 
elections to be held on the 26th June for Congressmen, 
and on the 4th August for members of the Legislature. 

The policy of the leaders of the Union party was, " To 
remain in the Union without a revolution, under all the 
forms of law, and by their own action." The words of 
Garret Davis were, " We will remain in the Union by vot- 
ing if we can, by fighting if we must, and if we cannot 
hold our own, we Avill call on the general government to 
aid us." 

It was the desii-e of these true and able men that no ex- 
traneous elements of excitement should be introduced in 
the State until the elections were over; they felt sure of 
carrying these elections if left to themselves. I fully coin- 
cided with them in their expectations and opinions, and, 
so far as was in my power, lent them every assistance in 
carrying out their views, among which were the organiza- 
tion of Home Guards and the distribution of arms to Union 
men. In Missouri, hostilities had already broken out, and 
it was evident that that State was destined to become the 
seat of serious fighting; nor was it then supposed that our 
tenure of St. Louis was entirely secure. 

Collections of Southern ti'oops at Memphis and Union 
City threatened Columbus, ELy., and Cairo, and made it 
necessary to keep a vigilant watch in that direction. It 
should also be remembered that in the early part of May 


the national capital was by no means secure, and it was 
not at that time an improbable contingency that "Western 
regiments might yet be needed to protect or regain "Wash- 
ington, As bearing upon this point, it may be stated that 
in a letter addressed to the General-in-chief on the 21st 
May, I informed him that from the information in my pos- 
session the indications were that the disposable troops in 
the regular Confederate service, from Mississippi, Alabama, 
Arkansas and Louisiana had gone to the East via Lynch- 
burg ; leaving in Tennessee the State militia, who were 
badly armed and under no discipline. "On the 26th April, 
when my command was confined to the limits of the State, 
of Ohio, I submitted to the general-in-chief certain sugges- 
tions, the substance of which was : — That, for the purposes 
of defense^ Cairo should be occupied by two battalions, 
strongly intrenched, and provided with heavy guns and a 
gunboat to control the river ; that some eight battalions 
should be stationed at Sandoval, in Illinois, to observe St. 
Louis, sustain the garrison of Cairo, and if necessary, re- 
inforce Cincinnati; that a few companies should observe 
the lower Wabash ; that some four thousand men should 
be posted at Seymour, in Indiana, to observe Louisville, and 
be ready to support either Cincinnati or Cairo ; that there 
should be five thousand men at or near Cincinnati, and 
two battalions at Chillicothe, Ohio. With the troops dis- 
posable for active operations, it was proposed to move up 
the valley of the Great Kanawha upon Eichmond ; this 
movement to be made with the greatest promptness, that 
it might not fail to relieve Washington, or to insure the 
iestruction of the enemy in Eastern Virginia, if aided by 


a prompt advance on the eastern line of operations. 
Should Kentucky assume a hostile attitude, it was recom- 
mended to cross the Ohio with eighty thousand men, and 
move straight on ISTashville, acting thence in concert with 
a vigorous offensive on the Eastern line. It was strongly 
urged that everything possible should be done to hasten 
the equipment and armament of the Western troops, as 
the nation would be entirely deprived of their powerful 
aid until this should be accomplished. 

It was not until the 13th May that the order, forming 
the Department of the Ohio and assigning me to the com- 
mand, was received. In the meantime, as much excite- 
ment existed in Cincinnati, which city was regarded as a 
tempting object to the enemy in the uncertain condition 
of Kentucky, I took steps to concentrate the greater part 
of the Ohio troops at Camp Deanison, on the Little 
Miami Railroad, seventeen miles from Cincinnati; a fa- 
vorable position for instruction, and presenting peculiar 
facilities for movement in any direction. As soon as the 
new department was placed under my command, I took 
steps for the immediate erection of heavy batteries at 
Cairo. In the letter of May 21st, already referred to, af- 
ter giving the information gained in regard to the posi- 
tion of the enemy on the Mississippi Eiver, it was stated 
that I was convinced of the necessity of having, without 
a day's delay, a few efficient gunboats to operate from 
Cairo as a base ; that if they were rendered shot-proof, 
they would enable us at least to annoy seriously the rebel 
camps on the Mississippi, and interfere with their river 
communications — ^their main dependence ; that I request" 

58 THE LIFE or 

ed authority to make the Bocessaiy expenditures to j^ro- 
curc gunboats, and that I regarded them as an indispen- 
\gable element in any system of operations, whether offen- 
sive or defensive. In the same letter the necessity for 
light batteries was strongly set forth. 

In the early part of May, I declined moving troops into 
Western Virginia for the reasons already given, and be- 
cause I regarded Kentucky as of much greater import- 
ance. It was not until the latter part of the month that 
I became fully satisfied as to the favorable tendency of af- 
fairs in that quarter. 

It was difficult to obtain accurate information as to the 
movements of the secessionists in Western Virginia, and 
the results proved that it was always necessary to make 
great allowances for the exaggeration which ever attends 
ignorance ot military affairs, and the alarm consequent 
upon the shock produced by a novel and abnormal state 
of things. Early in May, Governor Letcher called out 
the militia of Western Virginia under the State laws; 
Charleston, in the G-reat Kanawha Valley, Parkersburg, in 
Wood County, and Grafton, in Taj^lor County, being the 
points at which they were to be assembled. The accounts 
we received at the time, in regard to the numbers of the 
militia thus collected, varied much, and great alarm fre- 
quently manifested itself on the Ohio frontier, lest it should 
be invaded. To quiet this not unnatural feeling, a few 
arms were distributed among the Home Guards, and about 
the middle of May some regiments of the Ohio State 
troops were moved to points convenient to the more ex- 


posed portions of the frontier. I did not sLare the appre- 
hensions of an invasion, for I saw no good reason to sus- 
pect the existence of the necessary'- preparations, and did 
not regai'd it as probable that the Confederates would at 
that period consider Western Virginia as a suitable base 
for offensive operations north and west of the Ohio river. 
I supposed it' to be the object of the Eichmond authorities 
to hold possession of Western Virginia, and to coerce its 
loyal inhabitants into the secession movement. 


Gen. McClellan then describes the two campaigns in 
western Virginia, including the battles of Grafton, Eich 
Mountain, and Laurel Hill, and concludes an account of 
his operations in that quarter, in the following words : — 

" The result of these operations was thus to give us un- 
disputed control of all that portion of Western Virginia 
north of the Great Kanawha, and of the passes leading in 
from the east. The enemy lost their general killed, and 
his second in command taken prisoner, all their guns, 
transportation, baggage, camp equipage, etc., about one 
thousand in killed and prisoners, several colors, and many 
small arms ; the remains of their force was entirely disoi'- 
ganized. Our own losses in all these affairs, were a little 
less than one hundred men killed and wounded. From 
the best information that could be obtained, the total ef- 
fective force in the district, under the command of Gen. 

Garnett, was about eight thousand men. 


In this brief campaign, the telegraph was extensively 
used iu the field operations ; the line was constructed as 

60 THE LIFE Off 

the army marched forward, and we were seldom without 
an office at head-q^uarters. Grdat credit is due to the Su- 
perintendent, Mr. A. Stager, for his energy and intelli- 

I cannot close this brief narrative without bearing tes- 
timony to the good conduct, enthusiasm, and endurance 
of the young troops whom I then commanded. That they 
would be courageous was to be expected; but the patience 
and endurance they evinced under long marches, priva- 
tions, and fatigue, exceeded all my anticipations. Their 
demeanor in this, their first campaign, gave promise of 
the achievements in which they have since participated on 
many hard fought fields. 


Charged, in the spring of 1861, with the operations in 
the department of the Ohio, which included the States of 
Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and latterly, "Western Virginia, it 
had become my duty to counteract the hostile designs of 
the enemy in Western Yirgii:ia, which were immediately 
directed to the destruction of the Baltimore and Ohio 
Eailroad, and the possession of the Kanawha Talley, with 
the ultimate object of gaining Wheeling, and the control 
of the -Ohio Hiver. The successful affairs of Phillijjpi, 
Eich Mountain, Carrick's Ford, etc., had been fought, and 
I had acquired possession of all Western Virginia, north 
of the Kanawha Valley, as well as of the lower jpoi-tion of 
that valley. 

I had determined to proceed to the relief of the upper 


Kanawba Valley, as soon as pi-o vision was made for the 
permanent defense of the mountain passes leading from 
the east into the region under our control, when I received 
at Beverly, in Randolph county, on the 21st of July, 1861, 
intelligence of the unfortunate results of the battle of 
Manassas, fought on that day. 

On the 22d, I received an order by telegraph, directing 
me to turn over my command to Brig.-Gen. Eosecrans, and 
repair at once to "Washington. 

I had already caused reconnoissances to be made for in- 
trenchments at the Cheat Mountain Pass ; also on the 
Iluntersville road, near Elkwater, and at Eed House, near 
the main road from Eomney to Grafton. During the after- 
noon and the night of the 22d, I gave the final instructions 
for the construction of these works, turned over the com- 
mand to Brig.-Gen. Eosecrans, and started, on the morn- 
ing of the 23d, for Washington, arriving there on the after- 
noon of the 26th. On the 27th, I assumed command of 
the Division of the Potomac, comprising the troops in and 
around Washington, on both banks of the river. 

With this brief statement of the events which immedi- 
ately preceded my being called to the command of the 
troops at Washington, I proceed to an account from such 
authentic data as are at hand, of my military operations 
while commander of the Army of the Potomac. 

The subjects to be considered, naturallj^ arrange them- 
selves as follows : The organization of the Arm 3^ of the 
Potomac; the military events connected with the defenses 
of Washington, from July, 1861, to March. 1862 ; the cam- 
paign on the Peninsula, and that in Maryland. 


The great resources and capacity for powerful resistance, 
of the South, at the breaking out of the rebellion, and the 
fidl proportions of the great conflict about to take place, 
were sought to be carefullj^ measured; and I had also en- 
deavored, by Gvery means in my power, to impress upon 
the authorities the necessity for such immediate action and 
full preparation as alone would enable the government to 
prosecute the war on a scale commensurate with the re- 
sistance to be offered. 

On the 4th of August, 1861, I addressed to the Presi- 
dent, the following memorandum, prepared at his own 
request : 

* Hs * 5(5 if: * * 

Without entering at present into details, I would advise 
that a sti-ong movement bo made on the Mississippi, and 
that the rebels be driven out of Missouri, 

As soon as it becomes perfectly clear that Kentucky is 
cordially united with us, I would advise a movement 
through that State iato Eastern Tennessee, for the pur- 
pose of assisting the Union men of that region, and of 
seizing the railroads leading from Memphis to the East. 

The possession of those roads b}^ us, in connection with 
the movement on the Mississippi, would go far towards 
determining the evacuation of Yirginia by the rebels. In 
the meantime, all the passes into "Western Virginia, from 
the east, should be securely guarded ; but I would advise 
no movement from that quarter towards Eichmond, unless 
the political condition of Kentucky renders it impossible 
or inexpedient for us to make the movement upon Eastern 
Tennessee, through that State. Every effort should, how- 


ever, be made to organize, equip and arm as many troops 
as possible in Western Virginia, in oi-der to render the 
Ohio and Indiana regiments available for other opera- 
tions. At as early a day as practicable, it would be well 
to protect and re-open the Baltimore and Ohio Eailroad. 

Baltimore and Fort Monroe should be occupied by gar- 
risons sufficient to retain them in our possession. The 
importance of Harper's Ferry and the line of the Poto- 
mac, in the direction of Leesburgh, will be very materi- 
ally diminished so soon as our forces in this vicinity be- 
comes organized, strong and efficient, because no capable 
general will cross the river, north of this city, when we 
have a, strong army here, ready to cuL off his retreat. 

To revert to the west, it is probable that no very large 
additions to the troojDS now in Missouri, will be necessary 
to secure that State. 

I presume that the force required for the movement 
down the Mississippi, Avill be determined by its command- 
er and the President. If Kentucky assumes the right po- 
sition, not more than 20,000 troops will be needed, togeth- 
er with those that can be raised in that State and Eastern 
Tennessee, to secure the latter region and its railroads, as 
well as ultimately to occupy Nashville. 

The Western Yirginia troops, with not more than 5,000 
to 10,000 from Ohio and Indiana, should, under proper 
management, suffice for its protection. When we have re- 
organized our main army here, 10,000 men ought to be 
enough to protect the Baltimore and Ohio Eailroad and 
the Potomac. Five thousand will garrison Baltimore, 


8,000 Fort Monroe, and not more than 20,000 will be ne- 
cessary, at the utmost, for the defense of Washington. 

For the main army of operations, I urge the following 
composition : — 

250 Regiments of Infantry, say 250,000 men. | 

100 Field Batteries 600 guns 15,000 " t 

28 Regiments Cavalry 25,500 " ! 

5 " Engineer troops 7,500 " j 

Total .'.... 298 000 

The force must be supplied with the necessary engineer 
and pontoon trains, and with transportation for every 
thing save tents. Its general line of operations should be 
so directed that water transportation availed of, 
from point to point, by means of the ocean and the rivers 
emptying into it. An essential feature of the plan of ope- 
rations, will be the employment of a strong naval force, 
to protect the movements of a fleet of transports intended 
to convey a considerable body of troops from point to 
point of the enemy's sea-coast, thus, cither creating diver- 
sions, and rendering it necessary to detach largely from 
their main body, in order to protect such of their cities as 
may be threatened, or else landing and forming establish- 
ments on their coast at any favorable places that oppor- 
tunity might offer. This naval force should also co-ope- 
rate with the main army, in its efforts to seize the imjDor- 
tant sea-board towns of the rebels. 

It cannot be ignored that the construction of railroads, 
has introduced a new and very important element into 
war, by the great facilities thus given for concentrating at 


particular positions, large masses of troops from remote 
sections, and by creating now strategic points and lines of 
operations. It is intended to ovei-comc this difficulty by 
the partial operations suggested, and such other, as the 
particular case may require. We must endeavor to seize 
places on the railway's, in the rear of the enemy's points 
of concentration, and we must threaten their sea-board 
cities, in order that each State may be forced, by the ne- 
cessity of its own defense, to diminish its contingent to 
the Confederate army. 

The proposed movement down the Mississippi, will pro- 
duce important results in this connection. That advance, 
and the progress of the main ai-my at the East, will mate- 
rially assist each other by diminishing the resistance to be 
encountered by each. The tendency of the Mississippi 
movement upon all questions connected with cotton, is too 
well understood by the President and Cabinet, to need any 
illustration from me. 

* * * * :ic * * 

In conclusion, I would submit that the exigencies of the 
treasury may be lessened by making only partial pay- 
ments to our troops, when in the enemy's country, and by 
giving the obligations of the United States for such sup 
plies as may there be obtained. 


Maj. General. 

* * >is Hs * * * 

This was the outline of operations proposed by MeClel- 
lan. Had it been adhered to with the singleness of pur- 
pose which prompted its inception, the war might hav« 


been ended in one campaign. 

But the Administration had other objects in view than 
the restoration of the Union. 

Its mission was to forcibly emancipate tlio slaves of the 
Southern United States; and the war was proloLged, and 
is still prolonged, in order that this act might be fully con- 

"We do not here discuss the right or the wrong of slav- 
ery. In a theoretical or moral point of view, no argu- 
ment can successfully defend it ; but in its practical bear- 
ings upon the welfare of this nation, taking it as it already 
exists, it becomes the duty of every statesman having the 
good of the people at heart, not only to defend it, but to 
defend others in defending it. 

Everything comes in good time — even freedom. The 
world takes its time to grow — so does opinion ; and when 
these is accelerated by extraneous means, reaction is sure 
to follow, and the hands which mark humanity's march 
on the dial of time are put back. 

It is this acceptation of things as they are, with the res- 
olution to improve them to an extent sufficient for his day, 
and suitable to the temper of his times, which marks the 

The philosopher has no business with the world as it is. 
JEis world is yet to be born. But the statesman is the 
proper moralist of the hour. His concern is expediency 
— his basis, compromise. 

We thus draw the line between those who urged on this 
war from motives of mistaken philanthropy, and those 
who flow to its support from motives of patriotism, and 


the single desire to re-unite a broken and distracted coun- 

Foremost in the latter class stands the hero of our 
sketch — G-eorge Brinton McClellan. 

We now proceed to rapidly sketch the vai'ious move- 
ments of the army under his control, skipping, for the sake 
of brevity, over that portion of its history which redounds 
mostly to the credit of McClellan — namely, its organiza- 
tion and equipment. 

Passing over the battle of Ball's Bluff, the North Caro- 
lina Expedition, and the operations South and West which 
McClellan at once instituted, we produce President Lin- 
coln's letters, of January 21, and February 3, 1862, intend- 
ed to show that even at that early date, the policy which 
sought to prolong the war, in order that slavery might be 
the more effectually eradicated, was even then in active 
operation, and by the counter-current it initiated against 
the plans and intentions of the Commander-in-Chief of the 
army, embarrassed his operations, and multiplied the dif- 
ficulties which surrounded him. 

The order of January 31, 1862, is as follows : — 

Executive Mansion, 
Washington, Jan. 31, 1862. 
Peesident's Special War Orders, No. 1. 

Ordered : That all the disposable force of the army of 
the Potomac, after providing safely for the defense of 
Washington, be formed into an expedition for the imme- 
diate object of seizing and occupying a point upon the rail- 
road south-westward of what is knoAvn as Manassas Junc- 
tion, all details to be in ^he discretion of the Cominander- 


in-Chief, acd the expedition to move before or on the 22d 
day of February next. 


I asked his Excellency whether this order was to be re- 
garded as final, or whether I could be permitted to submit, 
in writing, my objections to his plan, and my reasons for 
preferring my own. Permission was accorded, and I there- 
fore prepared the letter to the Secretary of War which is 
given below. Before this had been submitted to the Presi- 
dent, he addressed me the following note : — 

Executive Mansion, 
Washington, February 3, 1862. 
Maj. Gen. MoClellan, — 

My Bear Sir. — ^You and I have distinct and different 
plans for a movement of the army of the Potomac. Yours 
to be done by the Chesapeake, up the Eappahannock to 
Urbana, and across to the terminus of the railroad on the 
York Eiver : mine to move directly to a point on the rail- 
road southwest of Manassas. 

If you will give me satisfactory answers to the follow- 
ing questions, I shall gladly yield my plan to j^ours. 

] St. Does not your plan involve a greatly larger expen- 
diture of time and money than mine ? 

2d. Wherein is a victory more certain by your plan than 
mine ? 

3d. Wherein is a victory more valuable \)j your plan than 
mine ? 

4th. In fact would it not be Zess valuable in this; that it 


would break no great line of the enemy's communications, 
"vvhile mine would? 

5th, In case of disaster, would not a retreat De more dif- 
ficult by your plan than mine ? 

Yours truly, 


These questions were substantially answered by the fol- 
lowing letter, of the same date, to the Secretary of War. 

Head-Quarters op the Army, 
Washington, Feb. 3, 1862. 
Hon. E. M. Stanton, 

Secretary of War. • 

Sir, — I ask your indulgence for the following paper 
rendered necessary by circumstances. 

I assumed command of the troops in the vicinity of 
Washington on Satui'day, July 27, 1861, six days after the 
battle of Bull Eun. 

I found no army to command ; a mere collection of regi- 
ments, cowering on the banks of the Potomac, Bome per- 
fectly raw, others dispiritt>d by the recent defeat. 

Nothing of any consequence had been done to secure 
the southern approaches to the cajDital by means of defen- 
sive works; — nothing whatever had b.oen undertaken to 
defend the avenues to the city on the northern side of the 

The troops were not only undisciplined, undrilled, and 
dispirited ; they were not even placed in military posi- 


tions — the city was almost in a condition to have been 
taken by a dash of a regiment of cavalry. 

Without one day's delay I undertook the difficult task 
assigned to me ; that task the Hon. Secretary knows was 
given to me without my solicitation or foreknowledge. 
How far I have accomplished it will best be shown by the 
past and the present. 

The capital is secure against attack; the extensive 
fortifications erected by the labor of our troops enable a 
small garrison to hold it against a numerous army; the 
enemy have been held in check ; the State of Maryland 
is securely in our possession ; the detached counties of 
Virginia ai-e again within the pale of cur laws, and all ap- 
px'ehiinsion of trou^ile in Delaware is at an eijd; the enemy 
are confined to the positions they occujDied before the dis- 
aster of the 21st July; more than all this, I have now 
under my command, a well drilled and reliable army, to 
which the destinies of the country may be confidently 
committed; this army is young and untried in battle, but 
it is animated by the highest spirit, and is capable of great 

That so much has been accomplishedand, such an army 
created in so short a time, from nothing, will hereafter be 
regarded as one of the highest glories of the administra- 
tion and the nation. 

Many weeks, I may say many months ago, this army 
of the Potomac was fully in condition to rcj^el any attack ; 
but there is a vast difference between that and the efficiency 
required to enable troops to attack successfully an army 


elated by victory and intrenched in a position long Bince 
selected, studied and fortified. 

In the earliest papers I submitted to the President, I 
asked for an effective and movable force far exceeding the 
aggregate now on the banks of the Potomac. I have not 
the force I asked for. Even when in a subordinate posi- 
tion, I alwa^'s looked beyond the operations of the Army 
of the Poiomac; 1 was never satisfied in my own mind 
with a barren victory, but looked to combined and decisive 

When I was placed in command of the armies of the 
United States, i immediatelj' turned my attention to the 
whole field of operations, regai'ding the army of the Poto- 
mac as only one, while the most important, of the masses 
under my command. 

I confess that I did not then appreciate the total absence 
of a general plan, which had before existed, nor did I 
know that utter disoi'ganization and want of preparation 
pervaded the Western armies. 

I took it for granted that they were nearly, if not quite, 
in condition to move towards the fulfillment of my plans; 
I acknowledge that I made a great mistalce. 

I sent at once, with the approval of the Executive, 
officers I considered competent to command in Kentucky 
and Missouri — their instructions looked to pi'ompt move- 
.ments — I soon found that the labor of creation and organi- 
zation had to be performed there ; transportation, arms, 
clothing, artillery discipline — all were wanting; these 
things required time to procure them. The generals in 
command have done their work most creditably ; but we 


are still delayed. I had hoped that a general advance 
could be made during the good weather of December; I 
"was mistaken. 

My wish was to gain possession of the Eastern Tennes- 
see Eailroad as a preliminary movement — then to follow it 
up immediately by an attack on Nashville and Eichmond 
as nearly at the same time as possible. 

I have ever regarded our true policy as being that of 
fully preparing ourselves and then seeking for the most 
decisive results. I do not wish to waste time in useless 
battles, but I prefer to strike at the heart. 

Two bases of operations seem to present themselves for 
the advance of the army of the Potomac. 

1st. That of Washington, its present position, involving 

a direct attack upon the intrenched positions of the enemy 

at Centreville, Manassas, &c., or else a movement to turn 

one or both flanks of those positions, or a combination of 

the two plans. 

* * * * * * » 

Bearing in mind what has been said, and the present 
unprecedented and impassable condition of the roads, it 
will be evident that no precise period can be fixed upon for 
the movement on this line. Nor can its duration be closely 
calculated ; it seems certain that many weeks may elapse 
before it is possible to commence the march. Assuming 
the success of this operation, and the defeat of the enemy 
as certain, the question at once arises, as to the importance 
of the results gained. I think these results would be con- 
fined to the possession of the field of battle^the evacuation 
of the line of the Upper Potomac by the enemy, and the 


moral effect of the victory ; important results, it is true, 
but not decisive of the war, nor securing the destruction 
of the enemy's main army, for he could fall back upon 
other positions and fight us again and again, should the 
condition of his troops permit. If he is in no condition 
to fight us again out of range of the intrenchments at 
Richmond, we would find it a very difficult and tedious 
matter to follow him up there, for he would destroy his 
railroad bridges, and otherwise impede our progress 
through a region whei'e the roads are as bad as they well 
can be, and we would probably find ourselves forced at 
last to change the whole theater of war, or to seek a 
shorter land route to Eichmond, with a smaller available 
force, and an expenditure of mucli more time, than were 
we to adopt the short line at once. We would also have 
forced the enemy to concentrate his forces, and perfect his 
dcfen.sive measures at the very points where it is desirable 
to strike him when least pi-epared. 

II. The second base of operations available for the army 
of the Potomac, is that of the lower Chesapeake Bay, 
which affords the shortest possible land route to Eichmond, 
and strikes directly at the heart of the enemy's power in 
the east. 

The roads in that region are passable at all seasons of 
the year. 

The country now alluded to, is much more favorable for 
offensive operations than that in front of Washington, 
(which is very unfavorable,) much more level, more cleared 
land, the woods less dense, the soil more sandy, the spi-ing 
some two or three weeks earlier. A movement in force on 


that line, obliges the enemy to abandon his intrenched 
position at Manassas, in order to hasten to cover Eich- 
mond and Norfolk. He must do this ; for should he per- 
mit us to occupy Eichmond, his destruction can be averted 
only by entirely defeating us in a battle, in which he must 
be the assailant. This movement, if successful, gives us 
the capital, the communications, the supplies of the rebels; 
Norfolk would fall; all the waters of the Chesapeake 
would be ours, all Yii-ginia would be in our power, and the 
enemy forced to abandon Tennessee and North Carolina. 
The alternative presented to the enemy, would be to beat 
us in a position selected by ourselves ; disperse or pass 
beneath the Caudine Forks. 

Should we be beaten in a battle, we have a perfectly 
secure retreat down the Peninsula upon Fort Monroe, with 
our flanks perfectly covered by the fleet. During the 
whole movement our left flank is covered by the water ; 
our right is secure, for the reason that the enemy is too 
distant to reach us in time ; he can only oppose us in 
front; we bring our fleet into full j)lay. 


This plan was but partially adopted. Preparations, in- 
deed, were made for a movement to the Peninsula, but 
under the pretence of covering "Washington, a large force 
was retained in that city, which materially reduced .Mc- 
Ciellan's strength. Another reduction of his force was 
made the day after McClcUan reached his base of opera- 
tions — Fortress Monroe. G-eneral Wool, with 10,000 men 


under him, were detached from the Chief's command. 

The navy, also, which MeClelian Largel}^ counted on for 
co-operation against the redaction of Yorktown, wassum- 
marilj^ withdrawn. 

To cap the climax, wliile McClellan was just on the 
point of turning Yorl^town by West Point, the first corps, 
consisting of 6;), 000 men under General McDowell, was 
detached from his command. ^ 

Thus even in the beginning of his command, the shad- 
ows of treachery and envy deepened about him. 

General McClellan thus alludes to it himself: 

It was at this stage and moment of the campaign that 
the following telegram was sent to me : 

Adjutant-General's Offfice, 

April Ath, 1862. 

Gen. McClellan : — 

By directions of the President, General McDowell's 
army corps has been detached from the force under your 
immediate command, and the General is ordered to re- 
port to the Secretary of War ; letter by mail. 


The President having promised, in our interview follow- 
ing his order of March 31st, withdrawing Blenker's divi- 
sion of 10,000 men from my command, that nothing of the 
sort should bo repeated, that I might rest assured thai the 
campaign should proceed with no further deductions / "om 
the force upon which its operations had been plannc 1, I 
may confess to having been shocked at this order, wt-ich, 
with that of the 31st ult., removed nearly 60,000 men from 


my command, and reduced my force by more than one 
third, after its task had been assigned, its operations plan- 
ned, its fighting begun. Tome the blow was most dis- 
couraging. It frustrated all my plans for impending ope- 
rations. It fell when I was too deeply committed to with- 
draw; it left me incapable of continuing operations which 
I had begun ; it compelled the adoption of another, a dif- 
ferent, and a less effective plan of campaign ; it made 
raj)id and brilliant movements impossible ; it was a fatal 

It was now, of course, out of my power to turn York- 
town by West Point. I had, therefore, no choice left but 
to attack it directly in front, as I best could with the force 
at my command. 

>!s :* :j< ^ * jf; ^ 

It is useless to follow the melancholy recital. From 
that hour McClellan and the army were doomed. 

The siege of Yorktown, the victorious pursuit and bril- 
liant action at Williamsburg — one of the greatest battles 
of this war— the battles of West Point, Coal Harbor, 
White House, Cbickahominy, Bottom's Bridge, New Kent 
and Seven Pines, and Fair Oaks, followed in quick succes- 
sion. Never were such brilliant actions fought before. 
It only remained to form a junction with General Mc- 
Dowell, who, although for the time withdrawn from Mc- 
Clellan's command, was now positively to re-inforce him, 
and strike the final blow at the exhausted enem}'-. 

On the 24th of May, 1862, the President re-assured Mc- 
Clellan, in a letter of that date, that he would surely have 


McDowell, and the latter would set out to join him on the 
26th. Here are the words : 

•' You will have command of McDowell after he joins 
you, precisely as you indicated in your long dispatch to us 
of the twenty-first (2l8t.) 


Says McClellan : 

This information that McDowell's corps would march 
for Fredericksburg on the following Monday (the 26th), 
and that he would be under my command, as indicated in 
my telegram of the 21st, was cheering news, and I now felt 
confident that we would, on his arrival, be sufficiently 
strong to overpower the large army confronting us. 

At a later hour, on the same day, I received the follow- 
ing :— 

May 24, 1862. 
From Washington, 4 p.m., 24th. 
Maj.-Gen. Geo. B. McClellan, — 

In consequence of General Bank's critical position, I 
have been compelled to suspend General McDowell's move- 
ments to join you. The enemy are making a desperate 
push upon Harper's Ferry, and we are trying to throw 
General Fremont's force and part of General McDoweH'w 
in their rear. 


This filled the cup. It was all over. Eichmond was in 
McClellan's grasp, and it needed but a turn of the finger, 
a single word upon paper, to secure it. That word never 


came. The Coramander-in-Chief was doomed. The time 
had not yet come to announce, as in the Chicago Mani* 
festo, " to whom it may concern," ;that the Union was not 
to be reinstated without the destruction of slavery. 

The memorable seven dajB now followed, days immor- 
tal in the history of America, and the gallant chief con- 
ducted his army by that most difficult of all movements, a 
flank march in the face of a large superior force of the ene- 
my, to a place of rest and safety. Gaine's Mill, Savage's 
Station, White Oak Swamp, Charles City, and Malvern 
Hill, have become memorable names to our countrymen. 

That the army of the Potomac did make a successful 
change of its base, and by an effectual resistance did repel 
all attacks made bj^'the rebel army to prevent this change, 
and beat back with terrible slaughter the assailants; that 
the movements of our army on its march were by night, 
and the battles were through seven continuous days, are 
facts not disputed. These movements and sanguinary 
conflicts, terminating in the arrival at the position sought 
to be reached, were not unpremeditated, accidental or for- 
tuitous, but were planned and ordered and suj)ervised by 
the general commanding the vast host comprising the 
army of the Potomac, George B. McClellan. Never be- 
fore on the American soil was such a feat performed ; 
there is no passage in the military history of our country 
so luminous as that which records the doings of our army 
during those seven days. It is doubtful whether any act 
" series of acts has shed such lustre on our arms in the 

iw of scientific and experienced military men in Europe^ 

the movements of our army in retiring from the Chick- 


abominy to the James, in the face of a foe superior in 
numbers and led by able commanders. No one military 
exploit in the progress of this civil war has done more to 
admonish foreign powers that it would be dangerous to 
interfere with the operations of the lawful government of 
the country to suppress the rebellion, and, therefore, to 
prevent such interference. 

Even Pollard, the Confederate histoi'ian of the wai*, is 
compelled to admit with reluctance, that " skill and spirit 
with which McClellan had managed to retreat was indeed 
remarkable, and afforded no mean proofs of his general- 
ship. At every stage of his retreat, says this author, he 
had confronted our forces with a strong rear guard, and 
had encountered us with organized lines of battle, and 
regular dispositions of infantrj^, cavalry and artillery. 
His heavy rifled cannon had been used against us con- 
stantly on his retreat. A portion of his forces had now* 
effected communications with the rivers at points below 
City Point. The plan of cutting off his communication 
with the river, which was to have been executed by a 
movement of Holmes' division between him and the river, 
was frustrated by the severe fire of the gunboats, and since 
that the situation of the enemy appeared to be that of di- 
vision or dispersion of his forces, one portion resting on 
the river, and the other to some extent involved by our 

"It had been stated to the public of Eichmond, with 
great pi'ecision of detail, that on the evening of Saturday 
the 28th of June, we had brought the enemy to bay on the 
south side of the Chickabominy, and that it only remained 


to finish him in a single battle. Such, in fact, appeared to 
have been the situation. The next morning, however, it 
was perceived that our resources of generalship had given 
us too much confidence ; that the enemy had managed to 
extricate himself from the critical position, and, having 
massed his forces, had succeeded under cover of the night, 
in opening a way to the James Eiver." 

" Upon this untoward event, the operations of the army 
on the Eichmond side of the Chickahominy, were to fol- 
low a fugitive army through a country where he had ad- 
mirable opportunities of concealment, and through the 
swamps and forests of which he had retreated with the 
most remarkable judgment, dexterity and spirit of forti- 

Thus much for the testimony of the Confederates. The 
commander and historian of the Army of the Potomac 
was fully authorized to say : — " The seven days are classi- 
cal in American history ; those days in which the noble 
soldiers of the Union and Constitution fought an over- 
whelming enemy by day, and retreated from successive 
victories by night, through a week of battle, closing the 
terrible series of conflicts with the ever memorable victory 
of Malvern, where they drove back, beaten and shattered, 
the entire Eastern army of the Confederacy, and thus se- 
cured for themselves a place for rest and a point for a new 
advance upon the capital from the banks of the James." 

Mr. Motley, our Minister at the Court of Vienna, thus 
writes to Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, in October, 1862. 
The letter will be found in the diplomatic correspondence 


communicated to Congress by the Secretary of State pages 
569 and 570. Extract : 

" In this connection I deem worthy of your notice, a 
brief extract from a remarkable series of papers in tho 
principal military journal of this empire, in which tho 
course of our campaigns is criticised, sometimes severely, 
but never ungenerously; always with talent, and with 
thorough knowledge of the subject, topographically and 
strategically, S.nd with a firm disposition to do justice. 
You will be interested to read the comments of so able a 
writer, upon the withdrawal of our armies from the James 
Eiver : 

" It is not to be wondered at, then, if the General-iii 
Chief of the Army of the Potomac was in haste to save 
the army entrusted to him from the dangers surrounding 
it, even from certain destruction; froom a noose, in fact, 
which required only to be drawn a little closely together 
in order to suffocate the soul of the Union. The manner 
in which he acquitted himself of this most difficult of all 
military tasks, redounds to his infinite honor, and places 
him at once in the ranks f^ those memorable commanders, 
whose name history treasures for posterity ; men, who, if 
they have perhaps not had the art to chain victorj'' to their 
banners, possessed, at any rate, the fortitude, the audacity 
and tho circumspection to rescue their armies? from im- 
pending ruin. * ♦ * The American general 
has made a thorough study of war in the swamps of the 
Ohickahominy, and has made himself a complete master 
•n that most difficult of professions. * * * ♦ 

Ho has manifested the unquestioned talent to save his ar.. 


my, in a manner not sufficiently to be admired, out of tho 
most desperate of situations. Moreau made himself im- 
mortal by bis famous retreat from the Iller to the Ehine, 
in the year 1796. What is due to the American Greneral- 
Chief, who conducted, with a morally and physically ex- 
hausted army, through a swampy, pathless country, cov- 
ered with ancienL forests, and in face of an enemy out- 
numbering him two to one, the most classical of all re- 
treats recorded in military history, without a single dis- 
aster ? " 

1^0 doubt this criticism, from a high military source, in 
an empire thoroughl}'- instructed in the art of war, must 
have been highly gratifying to our distinguished ambassa- 
dor himself, the author of histories which are classics in 
our language. Similar emotions must have swelled the 
hearts of all our loyal countrymen in Europe at the time, 
AVith far different feelings, however, were the commenda- 
tions of our American general regai'ded b}^ the Committee 
on the Conduct of the War. They could easily sacrifice 
their country's renown to gratify their personal dislike for 
General McOlellan. 

It is a fact familiar to the student of history, that the 
military renown of armies, and the nations they served, 
has been often as much heightened by skillful and well- 
ordered retreats from situations of peril, as by successful 
assaults. The famous retreat of the ten thousand Greeks, 
under their leader, Xenophon, needs only to be mentioned 
in this connection. The hardly less famous retreat of Mo- 
reau in 1796, has been adverted to by Mr. Motley. In the 
war betweea this country and Gi'eat Britain, in 1812-15, 


our navy performed exploits highly distinguished, and 
greatly elevated our national character. 

In the early months of that war, when we had experi- 
enced little but disaster on the land, it was truly said, 
" Our little navy has dragged up by the locks the drown- 
ing honor of our country.'* But of all the feats of that 
navy in this memorable war, there was not one that re- 
flected greater honor upon the naval arm of the service, 
than the masterly escape of Captain Isaac Hull, when in 
command of the frigate Constitution, from a squadron of 
British vessels, consisting of a razee of sixty-four guns, 
and four frigates, after a close pursuit of three days and 
nights. This display of American seamanship was viewed 
with admiration and astonishment by the greatest naval 
power in the world. 

On the 20th of April the army returned to the Potomac, 
its discipline and equipment unimpaired, its morale mag- 
nificent, its beai'ing proud and defiant, and its standards 
torn and faded, but covered with glory. 

McClellan no sooner returned than he was shorn of his 
command, and reduced to the position of a hanger-on of 
the army now under General Pope. 

Stung with the injustice and mortification he was sub- 
jected to, he thus broke forth in an eloquent appeal to the 
authorities at Washington : 

Alexandria, Va., Aug. 30, 1862. 
ft « * » * ^ « 

I cannot Express to you the pain and mortification I 
have experienced to-day in listening to the distant sound 
of the firing of my men As I can be of no further use 


bere, I respectfully ask that if there is a probability of the 
conflict being renewed to-morrow, I may be permitted to 
go to the scene of battle with mj'- staff, merely to be with 
mj" own men, if nothing more; they will fight none the 
worse for my being with them. If it is not deemed best 
to intrust me with the command even of my own army, I 
simply ask to be permitted to share their fate on the field 
of battle. Please r^ply to this to-night. 

I have been engaged for the last few hours in doing what 
I can to make arrangements for the wounded. I have 
started out all the ambulances now landed. 

As I have sent my escort to the front, I would be glad 
to take some of Gregg's cavalry with me, if allowed to 

G. B. McClellan, 


In vain. It was not until the bombastic Pope was over- 
whelmed by the enemy, and driven back in confusion to 
Washington, that McClellan was again reluctantly calle'd 
to the command of the army, to save the Capital, check the 
enemy, defeat him on the bloody fields of South Mountain 
and Antietam, and finally hurl him away in disorder across 
the Potomac. 

That tremendous but glorious duty successfullj'' per- 
formed, he was again deprived of his command, and, on 
the 5th November, 1862, retii'ed to Newton, New Jersey. 

Ilis deposal was the signal for personal attack and 
-crimination. In the Senate, in the Press, everywhere, ex- 
cept in the armj/, he was reviled as a fraud, a humbug, an 
imposter, and a, traitor to his country. He was charged 


with the defeat of the army, and a committee of investi- 
gation, ordered by Congress, published a report strongly 
condemning him for inefficiency. It was the report of 
this committee which ended in his being deposed from the 
command of the army of the Potomac. 

But though successful in this, the force of malice could 
no farther go. He was deprived of his command, but he 
still survived in the hearts of the people. He was success- 
fully defended against the committee's decision, in a pam- 
phlet published by Hiram Ketchum, on the 16th May, 

A committee of his admirers bought and presented to 
him an elegant house and lot in Thirty-fifth street, New 
York, as a testimony of their admiration of his qualities 
as a soldier and a statesman. In this house he now re- 
sides, though most of his time is spent in Oi-ange, New 
Jei'sey, in company with his charming wife, formerly Miss 
Ellen Marcy, daughter of Gen. E. B. Marcy, his former 
commander in Texas. By this lady he has one child. 

On the occasion of the Metropolitan Sanitary Fair in 
New York, a sword was presented by a jewelry house in 
the city, to be the prize of he who should secure the largest 
number of votes, each vote to be accompanied by one dol- 
lar in cash. 

For a long while the votes were cast almost exclusively 
for McClellan, audit was deemed certain that he would be 
awarded the prize. 

On the last day of the fair, a secret ballot was announc- 
ed. The object of this was plain enough. Ix, was started 
by the friends of General Grant, who were dete-i*mined to 

86 th:e life ap 

see their favorite win, and knowing that no matter how 
many votes they cast for Grant, they would be met by a 
corresponding amount of McClellan votes, this course was 
determined upon. The result it is needless to relate. Up 
to the moment of secret balloting, McClellan had six 
thousand five hundred votes against Grant's two thousand. 
Upon counting the votes after the secret balloLling, Grant 
had fourteen thousand five hundred, while . McClellan had 
scarcely seven thousand. 

This shows the bitterness of party feeling which assail- 
ed him ; but it is to just this feeling that his immense pop- 
ularity is chiefly owing. The people do not like to see a 
man assailed by superior numbers, and always take his 
part. To this, then, is McClellan indebted for his popu- 
laritjT", as much as to his own merit. 

To conclude this chapter, we cannot do better than sub- 
join McClellan's own conclusion;, to the report he has pub- 
lished of his own career as Coramander-in-Cluef : 

In this report I have confined myself to a plain narra- 
tive of such facts as are necessary for the purposes of his- 
tory. "Where it was possible, I have preferred to give 
these facts in the language of dispatches written at the 
time of their occurrence, rather than to attempt a new re- 

The reports of the subordinate commanders, hereto an- 
nexed, recite what time and space would fail me to men- 
tion here — those individual instances of conspicuous brav- 
ery and skill by which everj^ battle was marked. To them 
I must especially refer, for without them, this narrative 
would be incomplete, and justice fail to be done. But I 


cannot omit to tender to my corps commanders, and to 
the general officers under them, such ample recognition of 
their cordial co-operation and their devoted services, as 
those reports abundantly vouch. 

I have not sought to defend the army which I had the 
honor to command, nor myself, against the hostile criti- 
cisms once so rife. 

It has seemed to me that nothing more was required 
than such a plain and truthful narrative, to enable those 
whose right it is to form a correct judgment on the. im- 
portant matters involved. 

This report is, in fact, the history of the army of the 
Potomac. During the period occupied in the organization 
of that army, it served as a barrier against the advance of 
a lately victorious enemj^, while the fortification of the 
capital was in pi'ogress; and under the discipline which it 
then received it acquired strength, education, and some 
of that experience which is necessary to success in active 
operations, and which enabled it afterward to sustain itself 
under circumstances trying to the most heroic men. Fre- 
quent skirmishes occurred along the lines, conducted with 
great gallantry, which inured our troops to the realities 
of war. 

The army grew into shape but slowly, and the del.ays 
which attended on the obtaining of arms, continued lata 
into the winter of 1861-2, were no less trj^ing to the sol- 
diers than to the people of the countrj'-. Even at the ^Ame 
of the organization of the Peninsular campaign, 80n»v^ of 
the finest regiments were without rifies, nor were tb i ut- 

st exertions on the part of the military authoiltiss 

equate to overcome the obstacles to active service. 


When at length the army was in condition to take the 
field, the Peninsular campaign was planned, and entered 
upon with enthusiasm by officers and men. Had this 
campaign been followed up as it was designed, I cannot 
doubt that it would have resulted in a glorious triumph to 
our arms, and the permanent restoration of the power of 
the government in Yirginia and North Carolina, if not 
throughout the revolted States. It was, however, otherwise 
ordered, and instead of reporting a victorious campaign, 
it has been my duty to relate the heroism of a reduced 
army, sent upon an expedition into an enemy's country, 
there to abandon one, and originate another and new plan 
of campaign, which might and would have been success- 
ful if supported with appreciation of its necessities, but 
which failed because of the repeated failure of promised 
support, at the most critical, and, as it proved, the most 
fatal moments. 

That heroism surpasses ordinary description. Its illus- 
tration must be left for the pen of the historian in times 
of calm reflection, when the nation shall be looking back 
to the past from the midst of peaceful days. 

For me, now, it is sufficient to say, that my comrades 
were victors on every field save one, and there the endu- 
rance of a single corps accomplished the object of its fight- 
ing and, by securing to the army its transit to the James, 
left to the enemy a ruinous and barren victory. 

The army of the Potomac was first reduced by the Avith- 
drawal from my command of the division of Gen. Blenker, 
which was ordered to the Mountain Department, under 
General Fremont. We had scarcely landed on the Penin 


sula, when it was further reduced by a dispatch, revoking 
a previous order givins; me command of Fortress Monroe, 
and under which I had expected to take ten thousand 
men from that point, to aid in our operations. Then, when 
under fire before the defenses of Yorktown, we received 
the news of the withdrawal of General McDowell's corps, 
of about 35,000 men. This completed the overthrow of the 
original plan of the campaign. About one-third of my en- 
tire army (five divisions out of fourteen, one of the nine 
remaining being but little larger than a brigade), was thus 
taken from me. Instead of a rapid advance which I had 
planned, aided by a flank movement up the York Eiver, it 
was only left to besiege Yorktown. That siege was suc- 
cessfully conducted by the army, and when these strong 
works at length yielded to our approaches, the troops 
rushed forward to the sanguinary but successful battle 
of Williamsburgh, and thus opened an almost unresisted 
advance to the banks of the Chickahominy. Eich- 
mond lay before them surrounded with fortifications, 
and guarded by an army larger than our own ; but 
the prospect did not shake the courage of the brave 
men who composed my command. Reljnng still on 
the support which the vastness of our undertaking, and 
the grand results depending on our success seemed to in- 
Bui-e us, we pressed forward. The weather was stormy 
beyond precedent, the deep soil of the Peninsula was at 
times one vast morass. The Chickahominy rose to a high- 
er stage than had been known for years before. Pursuing 
the advance, the crossings were seized, and the right wing 
extended to effect a junction with reinforcements now 


promised and earnestly desired, and upon the arrival of 
•which the complete success of the campaign seemed clear. 
The brilliant battle of Hanover Court House was fought, 
which opened the way for the first corps, with the aid of 
which, had it come, we should then have gone into the 
enemy's capital. It never came. The bravest army could 
not do more, under such overwhelming disappointment, 
than the army of the Potomac then did. Fair Oaks at- 
tests their courage and endurance, when they hurled back 
again and again the vastly superior masses of the enemy. 
But mortal men could not accomplish the miracles that 
seem to have been expected of them. But one course was 
left ; a flank march in the face of a powerful enemy, to 
another, and better base, one of the most hazardous move- 
ments in war. The army of the Potomac holding its own 
safety, and almost the safety of our cause, in its hands, was 
equal to tl^e occasion. The Seven Days are classical in 
American history ; those days in which the noble soldiers 
of the Union and Constitution, fought an overwhelming 
enemy by day, and retreated from successive victories by 
night, through a week of battle, closing the terrible scenes 
of conflict with the ever memorable victory at Malvern, 
where they drove back, beaten and shattered, the entire 
eastern army of the confederacy, and thus secured for 
themselves a place of rest, and a point for a new advance 
upon the capital from the banks of the James. 

Eichmond was still within our grasp, had the army of 
the Potomac been reinforced and permitted to advance. 
But counsels, which I cannot but think subsequent events 
proved unwise, prevailed in Washington, and we were or- 


dered to abandon the campaign. Never did soldiei*8 better 
deserve the thanks of a nation than the army of the Po- 
tomac for the deeds of the Peninsular campaign, and al- 
though that meed was withheld from them by the autho- 
rities, I am persuaded they have received the applause of 
the American people. The army of the Potomac was re- 
called from within sight of Eichmond, and incorporated 
with the army of Virginia. The disappointments of the 
campaign on the Peninsula, had not dampened their ardor 
or diminished their patriotism. They fought well, faith- 
full}', gallantly, under General Pope ; yet were compelled 
to fall back on "Washington, defeated and almost demora- 
lized. The enemy, no longer occupied in guarding his own 
capital, poured his troops northward, entered Maryland, 
threatened Pennsylvania, and even "Washington itself. 
Elated by his recent victories, and assured that our troops 
were disorganized and dispirited, he was confident that 
the seat of war was now permanently transferred to the 
loyal States, and that his own exhausted soil was to be re- 
lieved from the burden of supporting two hostile armies. 
But he did not understand the spirit which animated the 
soldiers of the Union. I shall not, nor can I living forget 
that, when I was ordered to the command of the troops 
for the defense of the capital, the soldiers with whom I had 
shared so much of the anxiety and pain and suffering ol 
the war, had not lost their confidence in me as their com- 
mander. They sprang to my call with all their ancient 
vigor, discipline and courage. I led them into Maryland. 
Fifteen days after they had fallen back defeated before 
"Washington, they vanquished the enemy on the rugged 


heights of South Mountain, pursued him to the hard fought 
field of Antietam, and drove him, broken and disappointed, 
across the Potomac into Yirginia. 

The army had need of rest. After the terrible experi- 
ences of battles and marches, with scarcely an interval of 
repose, which they had gone through from the time of 
leaving for the Peninsula, the return to Washington, the 
defeat in Yirginia, the victory at South Mountain, and 
again at Antietam, it was not surprising that they were, 
in a large degree, destitute of the absolute necessaries to 
effective duty. Shoes were worn out, blankets were lost, 
clothing was in rags ; in short the army was unfit for ac- 
tive service, and an interval for rest and equipment was 

"When the slowly forwarded supplies came to us, I led 
the army across the river, renovated and I'efreshed, in 
good order and discipline, and followed the retreating foe 
to a position where I was confident of a decisive victory, 
when in the midst of the movement, while my advance 
guard was actually in contact with the enemy, I was re- 
moved from the command. 

I am devoutly grateful to God, that my last campaign 
with this brave army was crowned with a victory which 
saved the nation from the greatest peril it had then un- 

I have not accomplished my purpose, if, by this report, 
the Army of the Potomac is not placed high on the roll 
of the historic armies of the world. 

Its deeds ennoble the nation to which it belongs* Al- 
ways ready for battle, always firm, steadfast and trust- 


worthy, I never called on it in vain ; nor will the nation 
ever have cause to attribute its want of success, under my- 
self or under other commanders, to any failure of patriot- 
riotism or bravery in that noble body of American sol- 

No man can justly charge upon any portion of that ar- 
my, from the commanding general to the private, any 
lack of devotion to the service of the United States gov- 
ernment, and to the cause of the Constitution and the 
Union. They have proved their fealt}'' in much sorrow, 
suflfering, danger, and through the very shadow of death. 
Their comrades dead on all the fields where we fought, 
have scarcely more claim to the honor of a nation's rever- 
ence, than the survivors to the justice of a nations grati- 

1 am, sir. very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

Major-Gen. U. S. A. 
To THE Secretary of War. 




His Jirst participation in Politics — Vigilance Committee of New Oilcans. 
— L'lwLi'Ss acts of t/ie Tliuf/.i. — The position of parties. — Georpe builds 
a Bairicade. — Street fir/hting. — 'I he Vigilance Committee triumphant. — 
'I he Mnijor resigns — 7 he barricade.'! are deviolished by the Committee, 
and quiet re.ttorcd — McClellan'.i political sayings and writing.^. — He 
proves himself a true Patriot. — His nomination to the Presidenci/. — Po- 
lilical prospects. — The End. 

Previous to the breaking out of hostilities in 1861, Geo. 
B. McClellan had bad but little experience as a politician. 
As a i^ractical statesman he had had none. 

The onl}'- political contest in which he had shared up to 
that time, was tlie organization of a people's Vigilance 
Committee in New Orleans, June, 1858. 

We will now relate the history of this affair: 

The people of New Orleans had for many years suffered 
from the lawless acts of the countless ruffians who infest- 
ed the cit}". They had robbed and murdered with such 
frequency and impunitj^, that scarcel}?" a day passed with- 
out a long list ot crimes. Such few of these as came be- 
fore the proper authorities for trial, alone amounted to 
friglitful proportions. No less than five hundred indict- 
ments for murder, manslaughter, assaults with deadly 
weapons, and other similar crimes, stood on the docket at 
the time of which we write, while thousands of villainies 


were daily committed, which escaped both detection and 
appre])cnsion. The police force was notoriously leagued 
with the criminals, or Thugs, as they Avcre called. The 
Mayor of the city, Charles M. Waterman, was too imbe- 
cile, or, as some insinuated, too guilty to arrest the evil. 
Ho was repeatedly requested to resign, but refused to do 
so, and things Avent on as before. 

At this juncture a new election was drawing nigh. There 
wpre three candidates for the office, Mayor Chas. M. Water- 
man, Mujor P. Gr., T. Beauregard, of the United States To- 
pographical Engineers, since Genei-al Beauregard, of the 
Confederate army, and a Mr. Stith. "Waterman was the 
candidate of the Thug or rowdy party ; Beauregard the 
candidate of the business community, and was endorsed by 
nearly every respectable signature in the city ; and Stith 
the candidate of the Native American or Know-Nothing 

The election was for the 5th, and bad apparently settled 
down into a contest between Waterman and Beauregard. 
Nothing occurred to indicate the explosion which threat- 
ened, so that the citizens of New Orleans were completely 
astonished, out of both their beds and their senses, when 
late on the night of June 2d, it was announced that a 
Vigilance Committee had been organized and armed, had 
marched to the arsenal in Jackson Square, supplied them- 
selves with muskets and ammunition, and placed them- 
selves in a hostile attitude towards the party of Mayor 

In the morning, New Orleans rubbed its eyes in wonder. 


The Euss pavement of the principal streets had been torn 
tip, and formidable barricades formed from it to obstruct 
the thoroughfares. In front of these stone bari*iei:s cotton 
bales were planted, and from behind them, cannon frowned 
npon the astonished citizens ; while men formidably armed 
with muskets, bayonets and small arms, stood sentry over 

Jackson Square was a complete tower of stone work and 
cotton bales. A ditch was dug inside of it, and a cheval- 
de-frize planted opposite to each of the streets that de- 
boughed into the square. This was the work of no inex- 
perienced hand. "We shall presently know under whoso 
directions these defenses were erected. 

The Vigilance Committee had 800 men under arms. 
They published in the True Delta of that morning a proc- 
lamation, setting forth the crimes and lawless acts from 
which the city had so long suffered, and declared their in- 
tention of usurping power for a short interval for the noble 
purpose of putting an end to this state of affairs, and re- 
storing law and order. The proclamation was signed 
" True Delta," and was popularly ascribed to John Magin- 
nis, the editor of the paper of that name. 

As soon as the news got abroad, the Common Council of 
the city met in extraordinary session. The Mayor ordered 
out General Tracy's division of State militia. The First 
District armory was possessed by the Common Council, 
but only ten rounds of ammunition were found in it. 

Meanwhile, the Yigilance Committee were not idle. — 
Eight hundred more men were enrolled and armed. Kit- 
tridge's gun store was sacked for arms. In this attitude. 


a message was sent to the Mayor by the Common Council 
requesting him to resign. He refused. Meanwhile, ano- 
ther day wore on. 

It is now time to relate who commanded the vigilance 
part}'-, and who built the barricades. 

The commandant was Major F. E. Duncan of the United 
States army — the barricade builder no less a person than 
the hero of this work — George B. McClellan, then lately 
resigned from the army, and engaged by the Illinois Cen- 
tral Eailroad. 

Next morning the newspapers took sides. The PicU' 
yune and Crescent sided with the Mayor. The True Delta, 
Delta, and Bulletin, went for the Committee. The editor 
of the True Delta had been ordered to be arrested by the 
Mayor on the previous day. Maginnis, however, took the 
matter very coolly. The vigilance party still kept to 
Jackson Square, The municipal party made Lafayette 
Square their head quarters. It was immediately in front 
of the City Hall. Fifty men and two cannon defended 
the approaches. The patrol of each party extended as far 
as Canal street, which was midway between the two 
squares, but neither of them attempted to pass this rubi- 

On the 4th of June, the excitement increased. Incen- 
diary speeches were made all over the city. More mur- 
ders were committed, and more violence attempted. The 
writer of this volume was attacked by a ruffian in broad 
daylight, and had to defend himself against his assailant 
who was armed with a loaded six shooter, by using upon 
him a blunted wood-axe, which he providentially picked 

9'8 a?HE LIFE OP 

up at a ci'itical moment. There was no police. Matters 
were in a worse state than before. At noon, Mr. T, P. 
White, a wealthy money broker, was shot and dangerously 
wounded in the open street. Lumsden, of the Picayune, 
was arrested hj the vigilants. The municipals, after many 
ludicrous feints to cross Canal street with their two field 
pieces, and many returns to their base of operations, in 
order to supply missing lyr>ch-pins, and repair newly dis- 
covered defects about their cannon wheels, and caissions, 
and so forth, finally screwed up their courage to the stick- 
ing point, by dint of listening to inflammatory appeals by 
the Maj'-or's friends, and b}^ drinking a suj)erabun dance of 
hard whiskey — and passed the boundary line. This was 
the signal for battle. The vigilants ever vigilant, let fly 
too soon, and killed a number of women and other inno- 
cent lookers-on, who little expected that the affair would 
prove so serious. The attack began. The municipals 
poured in a hot fire of grape and cannister, which killed 
four and wounded twenty of their antagonists. They 
were then driven away by a brilliant sall}^ of the vigilants, 
and Canal street again formed the barrier between the ex- 
asperated opponents. An ominous silence reigned through- 
out the city. The stores were closed, and people kept in- 
doors. Things looked serious. 

At this moment the Mayor, yielding to the importuni- 
ties and threats of the Common Council, not only resigned 
his office, but flew to the Yigilants for protection. They 
guaranteed his life, and escorted him in satety to the St. 
Charles Hotel, on condition that ho would swear in their 
entire force, consisting of fifteen hundred men, completely 


armed, as special policemen, and then stand an immediate 

Tliis was accordingly done. The Yigllants were sworn 
in as " Specials," Col. Forno, Chief of Police and leader 
of the Municipals, waa dismissed from office, the Maj^or 
was impeached and bis office vacated. H. M. Summers, 
President of the Board of Aldermen, was appointed in liis 
place, and Colonel Jaqnes, of the Vigilants, appointed new 
Chief of Police. 

In the evening, disturbances were attempted to be re- 
newed. Incendiary speeches were delivered by Colonel 
Christy, an outside candidate for the mayoralty, and Col. 
Henr}'^, of the Nicaraguan arm3^ But in vain. The back- 
bone of the Municipal party was broken, and people were 
satisfied with what had been done, and disinclined to re- 
new the violent scenes of the three preceding days, sim- 
plj'' because it was alleged that the Vigilants, instead of 
acting for the people, were only a force organized by the 
Native American party, to overawe opposition, and elect 

On this da}'-, Frederick S. Porter, son of Judge Portei*, 
was killed hy an unknown hand. The Yigilants, by mis- 
take, fired on their own patrol, and killed and wounded 
several of them. Placards of a mysterious nature were 
posted on all the walls of the city. 

The citizens wearied of all this turmoil and excitement, 
and wished for peace. 

Accordingly, when it was announced on the following 
day, that the barricades had been demolished and quiet 
restored, the election proceeded without interruption, and 


Mr. Stith, the Native American candidate, elected with 

As soon as he was installed into office, the most active 
measures were taken to bring the Thugs to justice; and 
for a long while New Orleans enjoyed the blessings of good 
government and impartially administered justice. 

Thus, through the well-timed action of this Committee, 
order was restored, though at the expense of a few lives, 
which everybodj'-, even they, themselves, regretted. 

Its success was gained through the prompt action and 
professional services of he, whom the soldiers of the army 
of "the Potomac afterwards affectionately nick-named "Lit- 
tle Mac." 

The rest of the political action of George B. McClellan 
having occurred since the commencement of the present 
conflict, it will be necessary, in order to understand its 
bearing, to define the political situation of the times. 

Upon the breaking out of the war, there were in the 
first wild days of national excitement but two parties — 
those For, and those Against the South, or, Secessionists 
and Unionists. No one stopped to think of the many 
possible phases into which civil war might grow. It was 
expected that it would end in a few days with an inevita- 
ble re-establishment of the national authority, and that 
consequently any man who had proved so treacherous as 
to raise his voice in favor of the enemy would ever after- 
wards be pointed at as a traitor. So there were only two 
sides to the question — Union or Secession. 

In this era of sectional unity (to coin a phrase), General 
McClellan unsheathed his sword for Union. 


Upon the opening of the campaign in "Western Virginia 
he issued the following proclamation : 

During the following month he issued other proclama- 
tions, in which these phrases occur : 

" Soldiers ! you are here to protect, not to destroy. 
Take nothing, destroy nothing. The rights of the people 
of Western Virginia, in person and property, shall be re- 
spected. We come here to save, not to upturn. Your en- 
emies have violated every moral law They have, without 
cause, rebelled against a mild and paternal government. 
They have placed themselves beneath contempt, unless 
they can retrive some honor on the field of battle. I fear 
but one thing — that you will not find foemen worthy of 
your steel." 

Three sentiments are here distinctly discovered : 

Ist. The perception of but two sides to the political 
bearing of the war. 

2d. A determination to restore, but not alter or destroy 
— to protect, not coerce. 

3d, A contempt for the military prowess of the enemy, 
and disbelief in the sincerity or permanence of the rebel- 

After the battle of Bull Eun, public opinion very sensi- 
bly altei'ed. 

It was admitted that the rebellion was not to be put 
down without a great effort; — in a word, that the rebel- 
lion was not a rebellion, but a revolution. 

Then instead of two opinions there became four. Peo- 
ple began to reflect upon the possibility of complications 
not contemplated before. It was now not simply a ques- 


tion of simple restoration. There were tbe effects of a 
long war to be considered, cliange of national habits grow- 
ing out of it, polic}'- of confiscation, suppression of discon^ 
tent at home, question of emancipation, status of Union- 
ists in the South, and of Secessionists at the North, treat- 
ment of fugitive slaves, civic rights of soldiers, freedom 
of the press, right of free discussion, habeas corpus, recon- 
sti'uetion with or without slavery, or otherwise", payment 
of the enemy' s debt ; and a great variety of other meas» 

Parties now began to take somewhat this shape : 
1st. Abolition — or those who saw that the war mainly 
grew mainly out of the irrepressible conflict between ne- 
gro slavery or negro freedom, or the efforts of philanthro- 
pists to abolish, and of practical statesmen to retain, slav- 
ery. Fully persuaded that no peace could last with these 
two sentiments in antagonism, they sought to end the 
matter by declaring immediate freedom to the blacks, even 
at the risk of exterminating the whites, though it must be 
admitted, that they fully believed in the existence of a 
strong re-union feeling at the South, and the consequent 
easy restoration of power to the Federal Government* 
Wendell Phillips, Theodore Tilton, Dr. Cheever, Generals 
Fremont and Hunter, and many others, were the leading 
men of this party. There were many, however, of kinder 
feelings, who, rather than see the whites exterminated, 
in order to free the blacks, were in favor of dissolution, in 
order that the two conflicting systems might be forever 
separated. To this section of the Abolition party belong- 
ed that benignant philosopher, Horace Greeley. 


2d. Peace — or those- who, recognizing the irrepressible 
conflict, foresaw that in a Union based on emuncipation, 
the Southerners would be ruined, and the lands forever 
wasted for want of fit laborers for a tropical climate ; and[ 
that in a Union based on the status quo ante bellum, the 
South, bent upon independance, could only be conquered 
after a long and desperate struggle, which might end in 
the possession of their estates and negroes, by the victori- 
ous Northerners ; or defeat ; and the many evils which 
would follow it. In the former contingency, the Northern- 
ers would themselves in turn become slaveholders and 
strong pro-slavery men, and in a few years renew the con- 
flict with changed pides. In the latter, our glory as a na- 
tion would be lost, ourselves burthened with a heavy debt, 
the North impoverished and enfeebled, and both sections 
an easy prey to foreign aggression. In both, military oi*- 
ganization and power, so fatal to Eepublics, woujd first 
undermine our liberties at home, and prepare our people 
for the inevitable consequence of a stronger government— 
in other words, a Dictatorship or a Monarchy. Besides 
that, we should still be burthened, both North and South, 
with heavy war debts, and decimated in working popula- 

3d. CopperJiead — or those who, recognizing the right of 
revolution, maintained that the South had already exhi- 
bited enough strength to deserve recognition. There were 
others of this party who argued that the States being so- 
vereign, had the same right to separate that thej'- had to 
unite, and that consequently their withdrawal and forma- 
tion of a separate Confederacy was a matter of right, and 


ought to be so accorded. Both arguments thus led to the 
same conclusion. 

4th. Union — or those who yet believed that the two sec- 
tions would come together again ; who disbelieved in the 
irrepressible conflict of negro slavery, and the efibrts and 
arts of white emancipationists. 

This belief being the simplest, and requiring the least 
mental effort to bring it to conviction, was shared in by 
far the greatest numbers of our countrymen. , 

As it was coupled with associations of former national 
triumphs, with the flag, with the Constitution before it 
was perverted and broken, and with the livery of both 
soldier and sailor, it clung to the popular heart, as the ivy 
clings to the ruined wall, and bid fair to survive every 
other feeling. It was thought that compromise, kindness, 
concession, forbearance, and mutual guarantees of amity 
and forgiveness, would heal all. 

To this faith George B. McClellan pinned his fortunes. 

It is but fair to avow that Mr. Lincoln, at this time, was 
of the same opinion. This was directly after the first Bull 
Eun. It was confidently expected that the next campaign 
would settle all. Active preparations were at once made 
for a decisive blow. 

Gen, McClellan, at this time, wrote to Burnside : 

" We are fighting for the Union. Say as little as possi. 
ble about politics or the negro." 

To Halleck he wrote the same. To Buell, " not to per- 
mit the domestic institutions of Kentucky to be interfered 
with, nor its inhabitants irritated." 

The result of the Peninsula campaign rapidly changed 


all the previous views of political parties. Everybody 
chansred sides but the Peace men and the Unionists — the 
former because they had contemplated farther than any 
other, the possible political phases of the war — the latter, 
because they refused to contemplate anything but Union. 
At the period when we divided political sentiment into 
Abolition, Peace, Copperhead, and Union, the respective 
strength of the parties stood about as follows, in ten : — 

Abolition, - • - - - -2 

Peace, -.-.-.. IJ 

Copperhead, - - - ^ . - J 

Union, ---..-- 6 

But now the Copperheads were completely extinguished, 
and those of the Abolitionists, who, like Mr. Greeley, ad. 
vocated separation, became coercionists, for fear of being 
mistaken for Copperheads ; while those who had befoi*© 
loudly demanded immediate emancipation, now saw that 
their ends would be soonest gained by joining the Union- 
ists, and gaining both the ear of the President, and the 
advantages of that coercion which the Unionists now 
deemed a matter of necessity. Hence, the Unionists ra- 
ther gained in numbers, and their policy became imbued 
with schemes of emancipation, confiscation, and the har- 
boring of *• contrabands," and their employment as troops. 
Parties now stood about thus, in numbers : 

Union (including Abolition,) .... 7 
Peace (including Copperheads,) • • • 3 



It will be seen that the Peace men gained beyond what 
accessions resulted from the alleigance of the now stifled 
Copperheads, and that the Unionists, though they gained 
all the Abolitionists, at the same time lost some of their 
own numbers. 

McCiellan, however, remained with the majority. It 
was at this junqture that the famous Hai-rison's Bar letter 
was penned. (See page 280 of his Eeport.) 

Mr. Lincoln and his advisers, foreseeing the further 
change of public opinion which must ensue, now concluded 
that McCiellan was in the way. The tenacity with which 
he held to one idea, made him an obstacle. It was clear 
that Union was impossible. The Confederates were defi- 
ant, the irrepressible conflict was staring the North in the 
face, and but two courses were left open — Subjugation or 
Eecognition. As McClellen could accede to neither, he was 
plainly dc trop. He was accordingly removed. 

For a moment, when Pope was in danger, he was recall- 
ed ; for 80 popular had he made himself with the army, 
that no other general could count upon an equal chance of 
success with it. When that moment passed, he was again 
dismissed, and ordered to Trenton, N. J. 

Preparations were now made to conduct the war upon 
an entirely different basis. The object now was subjuga- 
tion. The rallying Cry of "Union" was retained, it is 
true; but this was only because it was popular with the 
masses, whose political ideas are always of the simplest 
kind. The employment of negro troops, confiscation, 
oaths of allegiance, military plantations, and censorship 
of speech, press and telegraph, were put in force j South* 


crn banks and individuals upon re-conquered territory 
were compelled to disclose hidden property, and forced 
loans carried into effect. 

Finall}'", the Emancipation Proclamation came out, and 
Mr. Lincoln now stood where both the 'Southerners and 
the Peace men foresaw he would, even before the war 
had broken out. He was obliged to. It was the inevita- 
ble result of coercion, no matter from what pure and pat- 
riotic motives coercion originated. Mr. Lincoln could not 
control events. He simply bowed to them, and, as he said 
himself, floated down the stream of circumstances. 

We now approach events of a more recent date. 

I shall endeavor to write of them impartially. 

TJjion McClellan's retirement to New Jersey, his time 
was spent mainly in study, and in watching with keen 
eyes the progress of national events. 

His popularity with the masses never flagged. 

Parties had again clianged their complexion. The di- 
vision of public sentiment was now about as follow : 

1. Radical Abolitionists. — Those who, dissatisfied with 
even the rapid progress Mr. Lincoln had made towards 
abolition, desired to see even more extreme opinions avow- 
ed, and more extreme measures put in force. These men 
met in Convention at Cleveland, and nominated John C. 
Fremont for the Presidency. 

2. Union Abolitionists — Or made up of those who, unit- 
ing themselves with the Unionists, conceded something to 
the latter, in order to avail themselves of their superior 
numbers, and of the Unionist'? who resigned themseh^es 
to the guidance and leadership of the former, because they 


were already high in oflSce, and possessed of great politi- 
cal power. 

3. Peace Men. — After Fremont's nomination, however, 
Mr, Lincoln, in order to destroy his opponents' party, issued 
his celebrated Niagara Manifesto, " To whom it may con- 
cern," declaring that Union without the extermination of 
slavery was impossible. This swallowed up the Eadical 
Abolition vote, but lost Mr. Lincoln a vast number of Un- 
ionists. Opinions now changed again, and stood, about 
thus, previous to the assembling of the Democratic Nom- 
inating Convention at Chicago : 

1. Union Abolitionists. 

2. Peace Men. 

3. Constitutional Unionists — Or those who, disagreeing 
with Mr. Lincoln in the policy or justice of his recent do . 
claration concerning slavery, yet clung to the belief that 
a vigorous prosecution of the war would bring the Con- 
federates to terms, and compel them to accept a fair offer 
of Union under the Constitution, as of old. Their respec- 
tive numbers stood about thus : 

1. Union Abolitionists — including a small part of 
the army vote — all men in office, all Abolition- 
ists, 2i 

2. Peace Men, 3 

3. Constitutional Unionists — including majority of 
army vote, all men whose interests prospered by 
the war, a large portion of the masses, some re- 
turned soldiers and officers, &c., - . • 4J 


GEORGE 13. m'cLELLAN. 109 

It will be seen that the Union Abolitionists, or the party 
in power, had lost largely through Mr. Lincoln's mani- 
festo. This resulted from the fact that, as I have stated 
before, they depended for numbers on the Constitutional 

The Peace men showed no increase. It is probable a 
small increase had occurred, but it scarcely showed itself 
in the number of votes the party could command. 

The Constitutional Unionists were therefore the largest 
of the three parties, but neither of them were enough to 
elect a Chief Magistrate. A change must therefore oc- 
cur, or the election would be thrown into the House of 
Representatives, when Mr. Lincoln would inevitably bo 

According!}', strong efforts were made to fuse the Peace 
men and Constitutional Unionists into one party. These 
efforts were successful, and the Chicago Convention united 
upon a platform, which, if the two parties who framed it 
can only hold together unt 1 the 8th day of JSTovember 
next, will assuredly elect their c.indidate. 

George Brinton McClellan was nominated for President 
on the second ballot, by 202^ votes, Thomas H. Seymour 
having the remainder, or 23^. 

Having thus accompanied our hero until the j)ast events 
of his life are melted into the busy and shifting present, 
we leave him and the kind reader to act their parts in it, 
as we ourselves honestly intend to act our owji. 





God Save Our Nation, 14 

Flag of the Constellation, 15 

War Song, 16 

He Sleeps where he Fell, 17 

The Red Stain on the Leaves, 18 
Follow the Drum, 18 

The Dying Soldier, 19 

Northmen Come Out, 21 

Our Country is Calling, 22 

The Soldier's Mother, 23 

The Dead Drummer Boy, 24 

The Soldier's Good-Bye, 25 

The Volunteer's Wife to Her 

Husband, 27 

Kiss me. Mother, and let me go, 26 
A Mother's Answer, " I have 

Kissed him aftd let him go 30 
The Soldier's Dream of Home, 32 
The Response, 33 

Gone to the War, 34 

Gently! Gently! 35 

March Along, 35 

The Last Broadside, 37 

The Patriot Girl to Her Lover, 38 

The Fallen Soldier, 39 

Roll Call, 40 
The Union — Right or Wrong, 41 

News from the War, 42 

Song of the Soldier, 44 

Our Union and Our Flag. 45 

The Two Furrows, 47 
Shall Freedom Droop and Die ? 48 
To the Men of the North and 

West. 50 

Across the Lines, 51 

The Captain's Wife, 53 

Move on the Column, 55 

The Soldier's Sweetheart, 57 

Carte De Visite, 59 

The Battle Summer, 61 

The Rainy Day in Camp, 61 

The Cavalry Charge, 64 

Lyon, 66 

March, 67 

On Guard, 69 

Coming Home, 70 

After AU, 71 



A Cry to Arms, 40 

Another Yankee Doodle, 60 

A Southern Gathering Song, 59 

Battle Ode to Virginia, 41 

Call All! Call All! 23 

Confederate Song, 44 

Dixie, 26 

Fort Sumter, 33 

Flight of Doodles, 42 

God Save the South, 21 

Justice is our Panoply, 52 

Lincoln's Inaugural Address, 54 

Maryland, 37 

Manassas, 62 

Our Braves in Virginia, 69 

Rebels, 35 

Song of the Southern Soldier, 48 

Southern Song of Freedom, 17 

Southern Song, 24 

Sott&ernWarCry, 28 

Sweethearts and the War, 

Southern Song, 

The Battle of Bethel Church, 

The South in Arms, 

The Martyr of Alexandria, 

True to his Name, 

The Star of the West, 

The Tories of Virginia, 

There's Nothing Going Wrong, 

The Despot's Song, 

The Southern War Song, 

The Call of Freedom, 

The Soldier Boy, 

The Stars and Bars, 

War Song, 

What the South Winds Say, 

War Song, 

We Come ! We Come ! 

Yankee Vandals, 




















ffiiMlODtt. T. B. DAWLBT, l>»bUiber, 13 A 15 Plfcrk Bow^ K. T, 

A/awieys uamp ana rireside Library— No L 



>B eickpe. 

t Maryland Unionist. 

*he snake-hunters of Wettem Virginik. 

okiri;; on the battle-field. 

>n inqiisitive rebel. 

oki:i{ont!ie battle-field. 

California Joe at his work. 

•n exciting incident of picket Ufa. 

'he wr ng way. 

'■alBin, the scout. 

tiiother picket story 

> picturesque rebel array. 

drumming a coward out of camp. 

accination in the array, 
iebels caught in their own trap, 
'ould'nt stand ii 
k demijohn drilled, and spiked. 
.n incident ot Williamsburg battle, 
'learing the baltle-field. 
. Yankee trick in Miuouri. 

These are ray sons." 

The spirit of '7t3." 
ji incident of the battle of the forts, 
eenes beiwj n pickets, 
actra rdinary telegraphic stntegy. 

Hurst, the Tennessee scout. 

The rebels and the telegraph. 

Preserving the Constitution. 

Scene at a New York recruiting office. 

Daring adventure by Union soldiers. 

Death scene of Captain John Gr.swold. 

Burn-^ide and the fisherman. 

D ubbiiig a prisoner. 

The dying soldier. 

Miss Taylor in Lamp Dick Bobinson. 

A female spy. 

Who was she f 

A camp of females at Island No. Ten. 

The drummer-boy of Marblehead. 

The Massachusetts tjixth in Baltimore. 

What they all need. 

Gen. Mci all's first escape. 

Probable tragic close of an eyenlfnl career. 

Rebel practices. 

Another female sece h. 

The burning of colt n. 

Take your choice, madam. 

An F. K.\'. outwitted by a Chicago Fire Zonare. 

" Not unless they lay down their arms." 

Remembered and mourned. 

Dawley's Camp and Fireside Litorary — No. 2. 

riHiE] oxjTx^.A_^7^^s oiEiiLi:) 

A AVild and Singular Story. 

Thk scenes of this strange story are laid in California, commencing some years befon 
le gold mines were discovered, and brouglit to the time " when mobs and murders wen 
s plentiful as golden slugs ;" when gamblers were reckoned right and proper men, am 
ambling hells were the saloons of fashion, and men of mind, manners and money amnse< 
Oimaelves therein ; when , theatres outnumbered cburches. and plav-books, Bibles; whet 
ourtezans were the acknowledged leaders of ion ; when San Francisco rivaled her eldei 
ifiters, both of the Old and New World, in her bowers of pleasure — for here was thegrea' 
ncleus of splendor and gratification in every sense. Fortunes were madem a single day 

en who had made fortunes in the mines came bore. What wonder, then, if crime jostled 
rime in the streets, What wonder if frau I throve in the mart of opulence, or that mid 
ight brawls distiK^^'^'i '^H" ■►'pose of the few who tried to be just. 

Then arose the Vigilance oramittee, talcing judgment into their own hands, when th 
aivering bodiis oi u-i^.a^t offenders, s^vnng from the wide windows of the Committo 
looms in Battery Street, an awful example o." '>,h da38 of evil. 

Price — la Cents, each nttmbui-. MaU«;d. postpaid, or four cns)ie» fe 
4* cents* 

T. R. DAVVLEl, PiH.lA^hvr, 

13 tinri 15 Y'Svrk E..>w N^-v^ '»'.'«rte 

Da"wley's Camp & Fireside Library — No. 3 


The Children of the Lighthouse 




■ — » > * • • i< 

This is a real picture of the different phases of ciiy life ; and, if i: 
has no other merit, it Is a True Story, each and every character de 
picted throughout its pages were living, breathing beings. Norma, th( 
heroine, is a girl of wild and singular beauty. The boy Will is a typ« 
of the brave and manly kind which wins the hearts of all. Thes< 
children were at a tender age left orphans, to the guardianship of ai 
imscrupulous uncle — a Wall Street Broker — who, appropriating thei) 
immense wealth to his own use, placed the children in the care of i 
Lighthouse Keeper on a distant coast, from whence, after years ol 
hardship, they escaped — the boy to sea, and the girl back to the city 
where she was kidnapped by a rascally villain, and taken to a vile det 
in Greene Street. 

WoRTLY, the tool of the rich man ; Jajhson, the simple-minded police- 
man ; Ethsl Danton, the profligate ; Hattie Nkwbold, his victim ; 
Madame St. Jcde, the sorceress and fortune-teller ; Ursula Leshman, the 
good Samaritan ; Oris, and his companion, Chuffer, the " Burkers," 
were all real, living characters. " Verily, truth is stranger ikanfictionS 


The Books of this Series are for sale by the Principal Booksellerg 
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T, R. DAWLEY, Publisher, 

Local or Traveling Agents, male or female, may find profitable 

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N. B. — Two plates are stereotyped, one with price, 
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Th4 very name of French novel may conjure up ideas equally alarm- 
ing with that of French cookery. Whether we shall be regaled with 
" tillet of a fenny snake," instead of fillet of sole ; whether an oyster-fed 
cat can be ingeniously made to represent rabbit; or a poodle nourished 
on spong-i-cake traustormed into the similitude of a pheasant. Admit- 
ting that much French literiiture is, like sausage-rolls, light and disap- 
pointing ; granting that Dumas is wild, Paul de Keck licentious, and Sue 
too often prolific of horrors, it by no means follows that the same soil 
which sends forth bristle and brier, may not breed celandine and daisy. 




This is a most singular story of a young man who was cursed by the 

Eower of gold, having had an immense fortune placed to his credit in a 
ank, by a mysterious individual unknown to him; after which he be- 
came associated with gamblers an<l bad men, by whom he became in- 
volved in a duel, was wounded, became a wanderer, was impressed into 
the British navy, where his career commences as DAGE-DEVIL DICK, 
a dauntless sailpr, and one of the most daring, we might say reckless, 
fightinjg men in the British navy, throujL!;h whose means the -'^^antissima" 
a Spanish corvett,^, was captured, loaded with an amount of doubloons, 
moidores, and pieces of Eight, that would be astonishing even to the peo- 
ple of our own day. 




The above tale is one of the most truthful and exciting which lias ever 
characterized the adventures of any Past Middy of the British navy. Tiie 
adventurer leaving home in comparative poverty ; his enlistment upon 
a war-ve.ssel; his desertion; joining his fortune upon tho deck of a pi- 
rate ; his re-desert on ; his next appearance upon a merchantman ; tlie 
merchantman's fight with the pirate; the Quaker Captain; the Captain 
de juerre ; his tremendous fighting ; the chase ; final capture of the pi- 
rate, and marriage of the liero, concludes one of the most daring tales 
that has ever been recorded upon paper, and which excites the admira- 
tion of all. 

T, R. IDA\^LEY, Publisher, 

13 &, 15 Park Row, New York. 


Price, - - - " 

T. E. Dawley, Publisher, 13 & 15 Park Eow, N. York, 
»i — ■ * » '< 


THE DEMOCRATIC CREED— Air : "A Man 's a man for a' of that." 

HURRAY FOE McC ELLAN— Air : " Wait for tiie "Wagon." 

THE VISI0:N of ABE lilKCOLN.— After teigh Hunt. 

ABRAM, LOVER OE MY— SMELL.— Air : •' ^7hen the Swallows Homeward Fly." 

Ui:^CLE ABE 'S '■ SPRINGFIELD LETTER."— Air : Not yet tbund. 

McCLELLAN THE HOPE OF THE NATION.— Air : " Red, White and .Blue," 

ABRAHAM'S BRuTHEELY LuVE.— Air : To he loohed for. 


LITTLE MAC IS THE MAN.— Air : " The Green Flag." 

ALL FOR THE NIGGER.— Air : *' Homo of the Brave." 


McCl.ELLAN MUST STAND AT THE HELM.— Air : " Araby's Daughter." 

ABE'S BROTHER OF NEGRO DESCENT.— Air : In search of a tune. 

OLD ABE'S LAST PRuCLAilATION.— Au- : The tune the old cow died on. 

DO I LOVE OLD ABE OR NO.— Air : Knovra when found. 

McCLELLAN AND THE UNIi )N.— Air : " : he Flag of our Union." 


THE SHODDY BRIGADIER— Air : " When I can Shoot my Riae Clear." 

A NATION'S PRAYER FOR PEACE.— Air : ' ' IgIc of Beauty Fare thee WeU." 

FATHER ABRAHAM'S " LAST CA^.L."— Air : " The Reconciliation." 

AN ODE TO OLD ABE.— Air : ' • 1 he other side of Joraan." 

" NIGGER ON THE BRAIN."— Air : " The Lunatic Asylum." 

OLD ABE'S INVITATTON.— Air : " Bruoe's Addiess." 



Abraham " 
McCLELLAN FIGHTS FOR OUR FL A.G.— Air : " Lightly May the Boat Flow." 
THELOYALREFOGEE.— Air: "Oh! Susannah." 

oh: C OSS the DAiiNED REBELLION— Air: " Susan White." 
WE WILL BE TRUE lO McCLELLAN STILL.— Air : " Gay and Happy." 
ABRAM'S «' MARRY BUT ONE."— Air: (hymn,) "From Whom all Blesdnes 

Flow " 
WHEN ABE'S FOUR YEARS ARE OVr.R.— Air : 'When This Cruel War is Over. " 
McCL ,■ LAN S NAM ; Vf ij HAlL.— Air : " America. ' 
Old .-\B.. IN— JUSTIFIED. 

HURRAY F. )R '1 HlO MaN i HAT WE LOVK.— Air : " Vive L' Amour." 
WUILH ABRAHAM R: IGNS— I.. M.— Air : ' Crown Him King of All." 
ABRAHAM THiO NIGG.Ul S KING —Air : He Sha 1 Forever Rcign. 
ABRAHAM. AIN T IT' SO ?— Air : John Anderson My Jo John. 
HA L TOMcClELLAN.— Air : Hail to tbe Chief. 
DARKI. S. ABE SAYS H8RE'S RjOM.— Air: And yet hero is Eoom, 
HOW C AN Wf) PRAlSiO 0..D ABE.— Air: The Presidents Hymn. 
COPPERHEAD—" PAY MENTI' —Air : Green Grow the Rushes O ! 
TH . BAYONKT AND THE BALL' iT.— Air : Coming i hro' the Ryo. 
BEECH R <!.ND CHiEVER.— An Ode for Music— iho Air not yet found, oicept 

that which proceeds fTom the Nigger. 
McCLELLAN S DUE —Air: ProRege Srepe, pro Patria Semper; 
'• B E S DOOD LE.— Air : Yanliee Uoodle. 
THE Ci )iNS 1 ITU HON AS 1 1' IS— THE UNION AS IT WAS.— Air : TO bo found 

in every true Heart'. 


■»»-*•» <« 


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USTumber 3. 
nVmnber 1. 

Tnciclents of American Camp Life. — 

Being events of the present Rebellion. 12 mo. 108 
pages- llliimiaated Cover. Price, 15 cents. 

Mercedes ; or, tlie Outlaw's Child.— A 

TaN o California life, the scenes of whiih are laid 
in California, cominipncing some years before the 
Gold Mines were discovered, and broiight down to 
the time, "when mobs and murders were as plenty 
as golden slugs," when arose the Vigilance Commit- 
tee, taking vengeance into their own hands, when 
the q;Uvering bodies ot flagrant offenders swung 
from the windows in Battery street. Price, 15 couts. 

Norma D.inton ; or, the Childrei 
the 1-iigh'thouse.— A Tale of New York 
— a real p cture of the different phases of city 
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Jastiiia, the Avenger. — The writ 
til's truly intere ting story, is a lady of rare qua 
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Pi ice, 15 cents. 

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Melrose Castle. — A liisiorical story of the 
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The Tvro Rivals ; of, Man and Mo- 

wey — Prom the French of Kmile Souvestre. A 
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:.:'.■,- JVurn'ber 3. 

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Spealsing Kifle ; the Indian Sla; 

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l*l"-u.mber. li 
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2' :i 

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4 o^ 


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